Portugal and Iceland inch closer to main round with huge wins

21 Jun. 2023

Portugal and Iceland inch closer to main round with huge wins

Iceland delivered their best performance so far at Germany/Greece 2023 in the second half of the game against Chile to clinch a 35:18 win, while Portugal had their best-attacking outing in history at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship against Costa Rica.

Both sides made great strides towards the main round, being mathematically qualified if Serbia and Brazil do not lose their games later on Wednesday in Athens and Hanover.

  • Group C

Costa Rica vs Portugal 21:52 (12:26)

Despite quite a slow start, Portugal bounced back in the second part of the first half and set a new record for the number of goals scored in the first 30 minutes at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship (26) despite six missed shots and one turnover in the game.

Led by one of the most experienced, if not the most experienced, players in their squad, centre back Andre Sousa, who had five goals and three assists in the first 30 minutes of the game, Portugal created an unassailable 14-goal gap (26:12) with a strong attacking performance.

A 12:3 run between the 11th and the 23rd minutes was the pivotal moment of the game, as the European side truly took advantage of Costa Rica’s mistakes, converting all of the seven fast breaks they had to clinch a big lead, which proved decisive in bringing Portugal’s second win in as many games at Germany/Greece 2023.

The European side continued to pounce and finished the game with a 52:21 win, setting a new record for the number of goals scored in a single match at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, beating the previous performance set in 2017 against Canada, when they had 49 goals in a 49:32 win.

Pedro Oliveira scored nine goals, while Sousa added eight more, with Portugal scoring an impressive 19 goals through fast breaks, taking full advantage of their opponents’ issues in defence.

While Portugal are not through 100% to the main round, they only need Brazil not to lose against Kuwait later today, making it mathematically through if they secure a win. On the other hand, debutants Costa Rica are virtually out of contention for a place in the main round and will face Kuwait on Friday, aiming to avoid the last place in the final standings in the group.

hummel Player of the Match: Pedro Oliveira (Portugal)

  • Group G

Iceland vs Chile 35:18 (12:6)

Iceland made a big step towards the main round, taking a commanding win against Chile in their second match at the tournament. If Serbia defeat Morocco in the same group G later today, both European sides will secure their progression. 

The Icelanders had struggled in attack in their opening match against Morocco when they earned a victory but scored only 17 goals. But now they did a better job, netting 35 times. Andri Finsson was their top scorer with seven goals, while both Iceland's goalkeepers, Brynjar Vignir Sigurjónsson and Jón Thórarinn Thorsteinsson, boasted a 50% save efficiency. 

For Chile, finding their rhythm in attack early in the game seems to be a problem. On Tuesday, the South Americans scored their first goal against Serbia in the 14th minute, when the score was 0:10. And now they had to wait even longer – Iceland were up 6:0 in the 18th minute before Daniel Montecino finally broke the ice.

However, the Chileans improved as the game progressed. They even tried to put pressure on Iceland, as their player Luciano Scaramelli ended the match with six goals from as many attempts. The European team led 17:12 in minute 39, giving Chile some chance for a comeback. 

However, then Iceland enjoyed a 5:0 run, so their rivals could hardly hope for a positive result. Between minutes 47 and 58, the Europeans had another impressive run, this time 9:0, and cruised to a clear win.
hummel Player of the Match: Jón Thórarinn Thorsteinsson (Iceland)