Faroe Islands and Portugal seal quarter-final berths as Croatia, Iceland and Hungary edge closer

25 Jun. 2023

Faroe Islands and Portugal seal quarter-final berths as Croatia, Iceland and Hungary edge closer

Sealing their fourth win in as many games, Portugal and the Faroe Islands are the first teams to ensure a quarter-finals berth at the 24th IHF Men’s Junior World Championship.
Portugal enjoyed an outstanding win against Spain (33:31), avenging their loss from the final of the M20 EHF EURO 2022, while the Faroe Islands confirmed their status as dark horses to take a 33:27 win over Brazil.
In group I, Croatia had their fourth unbeaten game in a row at Germany/Greece 2023 (36:23) against Tunisia, while Hungary secured their fourth win in a row against Bahrain (27:21), with Iceland doing the same against co-hosts Greece (29:28).
Main Round

  • Group I

Croatia vs Tunisia 36:23 (13:6)
20 minutes passed in the game and Tunisia were in still with a chance, despite missing top scorer Yassine Ben Salem, who was out for 10 minutes due to a mild ankle injury. Therefore, it looked like Croatia had plenty on their hands in a game in which they were heavily favoured.
But then, a strong 7:0 run for the European side came and sealed the deal, with Tunisia failing to score a goal for nine minutes and 58 seconds, as Croatia’s defence totally took over the game, with goalkeeper Dominik Kuzmanović truly shining, as he finished the first half with a 50% saving efficiency.
The more experienced side, with the larger depth, knew how to control the game in the second half, as right wing Matija Car was unstoppable in the first minutes, becoming the top scorer of the match, with seven goals. On the other side, Tunisia’s attack could not match the output needed to challenge Croatia, with the African side conceding their second loss in the competition, after the one against Germany.
The gap increased until the end of the match, with Croatia duly delivering an excellent performance, enjoying a clear 36:23 win, their fourth unbeaten game in the competition, which puts them in a prime position to progress to the quarter-finals.
On the other hand, Tunisia will face France on Monday, but their chances of progression are slim after losing against the top two sides in the group, Croatia and Germany.
hummel Player of the Match: Matija Car (Croatia)

  • Group II

Portugal vs Spain 33:31 (19:20)

Portugal celebrated their fourth straight win at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, taking a step forward to the quarter-finals. If the Faroe Islands win over Brazil later on Sunday, both Portugal and the Faroe Islands are through. Consequently, Spain, with the second defeat in a row, have small chances for a place under the last eight.

Portugal had a dream start to the game against the M20 EHF EURO 2022 champions. Boosted with a good defence, they gained a four-goal lead, completely shutting down Spain's attack. They were impeccable, while their fellow neighbours had only a 33% shot efficiency. However, the tables turned mid-first half. A series of turnovers soon put Portugal in trouble, leaving them goalless for six minutes.

While Portugal were trying to figure out why their efficient attack led by Vasco Costa stopped, the Spaniards produced a 6-0 series. Boosted by a couple of saves by Roberto Domenech and the stellar performance of Jan Gurri, Spain took over the lead for the first time in the match, bringing their shot efficiency to 70%.

Portugal did not let go easy and with Ricardo Brandao's third goal in the match, the game in Hanover was back to square one (20:20). It took 13 minutes for Portugal to regain the lead they last held in the 17th minute of the match, setting a 25:24. Pedro Oliveira was crucial for the achievement. He shone for his side with seven goals.

With a three-goal lead and seven minutes until the final buzzer, it seemed like Portugal took care of the match. However, as the clock hit the 56th minute, Spain closed the gap to one and, with deep, man-to-man defence, made Portugal sweat for the win. Spain were in a difficult position but even with 21 turnovers in the game, they were close enough. The goalkeeper Tiago Ferreira was his team's hero, stopping two balls in decisive moments.

hummel Player of the Match: Joao Gomes (Portugal)





  • Group III

Hungary vs Bahrain 27:21 (14:12)
Hungary extended their winning streak to four games at Germany/Greece 2023 with a comprehensive performance against Bahrain, in a game where the Asian side duly confirmed why they were in the main round in the first place, with another strong display.
Yet this time, they were no match for Hungary, which really controlled the game well, despite a shaky start in the first half, when they looked to have issues in delivering a good attacking performance, as Bahrain were leading by two goals (7:5) after 15 minutes in the match.
Jasim Khamis, who scored six goals and jumped to the second place in the top goal scorer standings, with 28 goals in the four matches he played, was once again the shining star for Bahrain, but Hungary proved too strong throughout the game, entering the break with a two-goal lead (14:12).
Despite trying their best, Bahrain failed to weather the storm, with right wing Bence Imre being flawless on Sunday afternoon in Athens, with a nine-goal performance from nine shots, which duly lifted Hungary to an impressive win, their fourth in the competition so far.
While their attack might not have clicked at times, Hungary clinched a clear 27:21 win, heavily improving their chances of progressing to the next phase of the competition, as they will start thinking already about the knock-out phase.
On the other hand, Bahrain might have only virtual chances of progression. However, they still ticked their objective before the last game of the main round against Denmark, as they are sure to seal their best-ever finish in the competition after two 17th places in their past two championships.
hummel Player of the Match: Kristóf Palasics (Hungary)


  • Group IV

Iceland vs Greece 29:28 (14:15)

In an all-European duel, Iceland claimed their fourth straight win at the championship, as they proved too strong for co-hosts Greece in their opening main-round encounter. If Egypt take at least one point against Serbia later today, Iceland will secure their quarter-final spot, and the Greeks will lose a chance for a top-eight finish. 

Greece looked very determined early in the match and had a dream start, leading 5:2 in the sixth minute. However, Iceland soon found their rhythm, starting to play their trademark speedy handball and scoring from fast breaks a few times. 

As they drew level at 8:8, the Greeks suffered a blow, as Dimitrios Panagiotou was given a red card for a rough challenge on Kristoffer Mani Jonasson. But actively supported by their home crowd in Athens, the co-hosts continued to fight hard, as their goalkeeper Dimitrios Bampatzanidis made nine saves in the first half.

At half-time, Greece were still in front, 15:14, and they extended their lead to 21:17 by the 42th minute. However, Iceland managed to turn things around. Led by Andri Mar Runarsson, Benedikt Oskarsson and Kristofer Mari Jonasson, who finished the game with six goals each, the Nordic team used a 5:0 run in the next six minutes to pull in front 22:21.

The pendulum still swung for a while, but another 3:0 run late in the game saw Iceland taking a 29:26 lead with 40 seconds to go. Achilleas Toskas, who became Greece's top scorer with seven goals, netted twice in the remaining time, but he could not prevent his team's defeat. 

hummel Player of the Match: Andri Mar Runarsson (Iceland)