Egypt end 20-year wait for U21 World Championship medal

28 Jul. 2019

Egypt end 20-year wait for U21 World Championship medal

Egypt finished their strong campaign at the 2019 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship with a victory over Portugal that earned them their first bronze medal at the event since 1999. The African champions were in control through most of the match, and knew the medal was won long before the buzzer sounded in the first medal match in Vigo.  

Egypt vs Portugal 37:27 (17:15)

It was a game that saw Egypt end a curse that has haunted them since the 2009 edition of the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, played on their home court. Since then, the African champions have reached the semi-finals at the event four times in six editions, but in 2009, 2011 and 2015, they walked away empty-handed after a defeat in the bronze-medal match. 

Egypt naturally would have preferred to be playing for the title, particularly considering their strong campaign that brought them to this stage with only one defeat – in the semi-final against France, who they had beaten in the preliminary round with a commanding performance. However, they could at least celebrate something on Sunday in Vigo, as they claimed the bronze medal after a 20-year wait since their last in 1999 

For Portugal, the medal tally remains on one – a bronze in 1995. 

It was largely a level contest through the first half, before Egypt dominated the second period to finish with a 10-goal victory. Both sides took their turn with the lead in the first period, with Egypt moving ahead as clear as three goals in the first 10 minutes before Portugal held the advantage at 8:6 in the 14th minute. However, once Egypt claimed the upper hand in the last 10 minutes of the half, the match belonged entirely to them. 

Portugal right back Diogo Silva hit an overall tally of 76 goals at Spain 2019 during the match, reaching the critical 73-goal point in the 18th minute off a penalty shot. It was that goal that took him past Slovenia’s Gregor Ocvirk, who had hit 72 goals earlier in the day in the 5/6 placement match. With that, Silva is the clear top scorer of the 2019 Junior World Championship ahead of the final. The nearest rival to play the trophy match is Croatia’s Ivan Martinovic, with 53 goals. 

After their two-goal lead at the break, Egypt were narrowly in control but had far from a decisive lead. However, after just 10 minutes of play in the second period, they had reached a six-goal advantage at 23:17, and the situation started to look ominous for Portugal. Portugal kept that distance until the last 10 minutes of the match, but then Egypt pulled clearly away and by the 55th minute, they hit a 10-goal advantage, 34:24, that meant the outcome was clearly decided. 

Player of the match: Seif Elderaa, Egypt