Portugal and Hungary in race for ranking

21 Jul. 2019

Portugal and Hungary in race for ranking

With both teams on four points, alongside Brazil, Portugal and Hungary will meet for a critical match to close round four for Group C at the 2019 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship on Sunday 21 July. 

The day will begin with undefeated Croatia aiming for their fourth win, versus Bahrain, who will in turn hope to collect their first two points after three close defeats. Brazil will follow, taking on Kosovo, with the chance to raise their own points tally to six goals with a win. 

Feature match: Hungary vs Portugal 
Pavillon Municipal de Deportes de Pontevedra, 20:00 local time

Hungary and Portugal both enter the match with two wins behind them, placing them on four points. Hungary have the edge over Portugal due to goal difference, and therefore rank second on the table, ahead of Portugal in third. Brazil round out the three teams level on four points in fourth. 

With Brazil to take on Kosovo earlier in the evening, the Pan American side have a chance to move up to six points – and at the end of round four either Hungary or Portugal can join them and take an important step towards a higher ranking in the group. 

As semi-finalists at the U20 EHF EURO 2018, Portugal were tipped as one of the favourites at Spain 2019, but they stumbled in round one, recording a five-goal defeat to Brazil. Portugal found their footing in round two and collected a narrow win over Bahrain, before taking their second victory against Kosovo in round three. Now, their sights are set on Hungary. 

“Yesterday I said that my team lacked a bit of consistency and today we have managed to improve that aspect. We played very well on the defensive level, while in attack we had calm, patience and intelligence. It was a good match. We have to congratulate the players because they applied everything we had talked to on the court. They did a great job,” said Portugal coach Ricardo Santos after the round three victory, while back Diogo Silva added: 

“We are improving in every game, and that is a very positive aspect because we face complicated challenges, so we have to continue in this line of improvement. We are on the right path to achieve it.” 

Hungary need to be prepared to meet a Portugal team that only intends on improving their performances. They have beaten the same opponents as Portugal so far – Bahrain in round one, and Kosovo in round two. The teams had similar score lines against both opponents, so it would seem a close match can be expected. 

Indeed, last time the squads met, at the U20 European championship last summer, Portugal finished the preliminary round match with a one-goal victory. 

Croatia target four from four

Croatia will open the day at 16:00 local time when they meet Bahrain. With a perfect record of three wins in three games, and a particularly impressive victory versus Hungary in round three, Croatia are the favourites – but Bahrain have proven they are a challenging side to face, with three close losses so far. Their round three match against Brazil was decided by one goal only in the final seconds. 

In the second match of the day, Brazil hope to add their third victory and take their points tally to six, while their opponents Kosovo are aiming for their first win at what is their first World Championship in any sport. Their match throws off at 18:00 local time in Pontevedra.