Germany seal dramatic quarter-final berth, sending reigning champions France out of contention

25 Jun. 2023

Germany seal dramatic quarter-final berth, sending reigning champions France out of contention

The co-hosts had to sweat but clinched a nail-biting 30:29 win against France, which sent them and Croatia through to the quarter-finals, with the reigning champions now eliminated from contention.
Things got more complicated in groups III and IV in Athens, where Denmark and Serbia stayed alive with crucial wins against Sweden and Egypt, respectively, handing their opponents their first losses at Germany/Greece 2023.
Serbia controlled the game against Egypt from start to finish to clinch a strong 33:26 win, that boosts their chances for a place in the quarter-finals, while Denmark mounted an excellent comeback to secure a 29:26 win over Sweden, enough to see the battle for the two places for the quarter-finals still open.

Main Round

  • Group I

Germany vs France 30:29 (17:16)

Germany enjoyed a virtually flawless start to the game. It was mostly thanks to goalkeeper David Späth, who saved four of the five shots he faced for an 80% saving efficiency, constantly keeping France at bay, while on the other side of the ball, right back Renars Uscins did excellent work to create a 4:3 lead.
It went from bad to worse for France, with the co-hosts delivering constant pressure in attack, as left-handers Uscins and Nils Lichtlein were unstoppable at times, combining for seven goals in the first half alone, being key in Germany leading the game and dictating the rhythm.
But France had plenty of experience on their side, and they only needed a few saves from goalkeeper Leo Villain to start clicking. On the right side of the court, back Hugo Pimenta and wing Oreste Vescovo spurred a 5:1 run for France at the end of the first half, which saw the game once again in a deadlock (16:16).
Yet the reigning world champions had to fight back once again after Germany produced their own 5:1 run to start the second half, with fiery fast breaks converted, which saw Martin Heuberger’s side open a 22:17 gap, which proved to be unassailable in the end.
With Späth (14 saves for a 33% saving efficiency) still shining, Germany displayed extraordinary consistency, with no less than seven players scoring at least three goals, distributing evenly their chances in attack, which totally confused the France defence at times, sending Germany to a seven-goal lead (29:22).
But the game was far from over. A four-goal salvo from left wing Guéric Vincent saw France capitalise on a 7:0 run to tie the game (29:29) with 81 seconds left, which shocked both the German side as well as the fans that packed the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg.
Eventually, Germany clinched a 30:29 win, thanks to another save from David Späth in the dying seconds in a one-on-one situation with right wing Oreste Vestovo, in a game in which they made it difficult for themselves, after a strong performance in the first 50 minutes.
With four points in the main round and a four-point advantage over France and Tunisia, Germany are now sure of their place in the quarter-finals, as their four-game winning streak was enough. Yet, the co-hosts still need to seal at least a draw in the final match against Croatia to finish first in the group.
On the other hand, France’s losses against Croatia – in the preliminary round – and Germany on Sunday meant that a new champion would be crowned at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, as the French side’s best possible finish being the ninth place at Germany/Greece 2023.
hummel Player of the Match: Justus Fischer (Germany)

  • Group II

Faroe Islands vs Brazil 33:27 (16:13)

Faroe Islands extended their winning streak, and after a great performance in the group phase, they were equally successful at the start of the main round. With a win over Brazil, the Faroe Islands pushed themselves and Portugal to the quarter-finals, as both teams have four points, and neither Spain nor Brazil can catch them. Brazil have to face Spain in the battle for third place in the group, which is important for the placement matches.

Brazil had the best intentions against the strong Faroe Islands, who have been unbeaten in this competition. After an early lead by the Faroe Islands, Brazil soon caught up and their defensive display kept making trouble for the opponents. Especially Hugo Bryan Monta da Silva’s performance was keeping Elias Ellefsen Á Skipagotu away. He also did his magic in the attack, scoring four out of four to have a level.

Everything changed mid-first half. The Faroe Islands went from 55% shot efficiency to 65% with a series of goals by Skipagotu and Hákun West av Teigum. But the real man of the moment was the goalkeeper Pauli Jacobsen with his eight saves at a 39% saving efficiency in the first half. Brazil were trailing by three and their effort in defence seemed to be dropping, especially after they did not realise their chances.

It was back and forth between the two sides and when the Faroe Islands hit their first four-goal lead, Davi Inoue Langaro stepped up a gear and gave Brazil a new rush. And when it seemed like Skipagotu did not have an option through the opponent's defence, he would somehow find a way to pass the ball for a clear goal. 13 goals and eight assists say enough.

The glimpse of hope for Brazil when Gabriel Dos Santos Da Rosa netted for 23:25 followed by William Da Silva Santos' two saves, but turnovers cost them dearly, pushing the Faroe Islands to a comfortable win, worthy of the quarterfinals.

hummel Player of the Match: Elias Ellefsen Á Skipagotu (Faroe Islands)


Faroe Islands



  • Group III

Sweden vs Denmark 26:29 (15:14)
Things in group III of the main round in Athens just got more interesting after Denmark made a superb comeback against Sweden to take a crucial 29:26 win, which ushered the Danish team back into contention for a place in the quarter-finals after they started the group on zero points.
It looked like Sweden were in total control of the game, taking a strong 11:7 lead after only 20 minutes, with the Scandinavian side relying heavily on line player Felix Möller and their top scorer, Kasper Palmar, with the two players also finishing the game as their team’s top scorers, with seven and five goals respectively.
But a plucky Denmark always managed to keep the gap under control, even when Sweden had a three-goal lead (23:20) with 14 minutes to go and were looking like a good bet to win the match. First, the defence got better and better and enabled Denmark to score some easy goals on the fast break, with goalkeeper Mikkel Moller Lovkvist making four crucial saves in the last 10 minutes.
Then, the hummel Player of the Match, Hjalte Lykke, and Denmark’s top scorer, Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen, took control of the game, scoring six goals each, as Denmark engineered a 5:0 unanswered run, preventing Sweden from scoring for five minutes and 45 seconds, to turn the game on its head.
The 25:23 lead took by Denmark was preserved until the end, with Sommer Arnoldsen and Lykke leading their side to a 29:26 win, a crucial one that helped them tie Sweden on points in the standings, as Hungary lead the group with four points.
Sweden will now face Hungary in the last match, where they face a must-win situation, while Denmark meet Bahrain on Monday in the last two matches of one of the most, if not the most, balanced group in the main round.
hummel Player of the Match: Hjalte Lykke (Denmark)

  • Group IV

Egypt vs Serbia 26:33 (12:18)

Serbia opened the main round with a win against Egypt, so both teams are now level at two points. This result made the situation in group IV more complicated, as Iceland are first-placed with four points, and Greece are bottom with zero points. So both quarter-finalists will be named on Monday, when Iceland meet Egypt and Serbia face Greece.

Nikola Zecevic, hummel Player of the Match, became Serbia's top scorer with eight goals, while Milos Kos and Mateja Dodic netted seven times each. Serbia enjoyed a 67% shot efficiency, compared to Egypt's 59%, and the Balkan team's goalkeeper Luka Krivokapic also had an impact, recording 11 saves. In contrast, Egypt used all their three goalkeepers, but only Youssef Salama did a decent job, boasting a 33% saving efficiency. 

The European team took early control of the match, opening a 7:3 lead midway through the first half. Led by Mohab Abdelhak, who became the top scorer of the match with 10 goals, Egypt tried to fight back, slashing the gap to 11:14 five minutes from the break. However, the Serbs were dominant late in the first half, extending the gap to six goals at the interval.

After the restart, Serbia continued to dominate, and when they led 26:17 midway through the second half, the game was all but decoded. So the Europeans did not slow down and cruised to a seven-goal win, staying in the fight for a quarter-final spot. 

hummel Player of the Match: Nikola Zecevic, Serbia