Next quarter-final berths decided after Hungary and Iceland seal wins

26 Jun. 2023

Next quarter-final berths decided after Hungary and Iceland seal wins

Four more quarter-final berths at Germany/Greece 2023 have been awarded on Monday after two nail-biting games took place in Athens.
Hungary used a 4:0 unanswered run to finish off the match against Sweden and take a 29:26 win, securing the first place in Group III, a result which also saw Denmark progress to the quarter-finals.
In Group IV, Iceland stopped a comeback from Egypt to take a win by the slightest of margins (29:28) and to progress to the next round, eliminating the African side and giving a helping hand to Serbia, who got even closer to a quarter-final berth.
Group II’s derby between the Faroe Islands and Portugal decided the first place in the group, with the Nordic team clinching a 27:19 on their way to the first place, while France secured the third place in Group I with a 42:31 win over Tunisia.
Main Round

  • Group I

France vs Tunisia 42:31 (19:13)
Out of the quarter-finals picture due to their loss against Germany on Sunday, France still had something to work for: a top-10 finish, which was achievable. First, they needed to come back to their winning ways against Tunisia and this is exactly what the reigning champions did.
Resting some key starters in the first part of the game, France still had everything under control, with their starting wings, Valentin Bzdynga and Auguste Longerinas, dominating in the first minutes, as they were unstoppable by Tunisia’s defence.
When centre back Mattéo Fadhuile-Crepy entered the fray, France had even more cohesion in the squad, easily building a six-goal lead at the break, 19:13, after Tunisia had missed some chances throughout the game to try and maintain a gap which could have been reduced.
After Amine Ben Salem got his second red card in four games at Germany/Greece 2023 for a foul, Tunisia struggled in the second half, enabling France to take a strong lead, which proved to be unassailable, as Fadhuile-Crepy and line players Sacha Mantz and Gautier Loredon proved to be unstoppable, with the first two scoring six goals and the latter adding five goals for France.
The 42:31 win for France enables the reigning world champions to feature in the Placement Matches 9-16, where they will face the fourth-placed team from Group II – Brazil – while Tunisia head to the same bracket, where they meet Spain in another crunch clash against a European side, after having previously lost against Germany and Croatia.
hummel Player of the Match: Karim Zahaf (Tunisia)

  • Group II

Portugal vs Faroe Islands 19:27 (10:15)

Both sides had their quarter-final spot secured ahead of the match, but they were fighting for prestige and first place in the group. The Faroe Islands won fair and square, but it wasn't their top-notch performance at the competition. Portugal were short in efficiency and made too many turnovers. The two sides are now waiting for the outcome of the Main Round Group IV to find out their opponents in the quarter-finals.

Portugal had an early momentum to the game but soon everything changed. The Faroe Islands had a blistering 4-0 start boosted by Bogi Hansen's top performance. They took the lead (6:5) and never let it go. Even without the competition's top scorer, Elias Ellefsen Á Skipagotu, who was resting on the bench, the Faroe Islands were unassailable on the court.

Portugal's main problem in the first half were turnovers, and too many missed chances, displaying their weak points. However, they made a run for it in the second half, increasing their shot efficiency and closing the gap to three.

With a 5-1 defence, Portugal tried to tire out the opponent and when you add four out of six saves by Diogo Marques, it seemed like it was working in their favour. And Marques was their man of the match with a 40% saving efficiency after the final whistle.

The Faroe Islands scored only two goals in 15 minutes of the second half. The Portuguese side had two chances to tie the game, but their opponent's goalkeeper Aleksandar Lacok saved the day and kept the Faroe Islands in front despite the fizzled attack.

The Faroe Islands started to wake up in the last ten minutes of the game, regaining a significant lead that stretched out to eight by the end of the game. Bjarni Í Selvindi joined Bogi Hansen as the team's top scorer.

hummel Player of the Match: Aleksandar Lacok (Faroe Islands)


Faroe Islands


  • Group III

Hungary vs Sweden 29:26 (16:13)
A fantastic ending of the first half saw Hungary take the driver’s seat of their do-or-die clash against Sweden, which could have seen the European side drop to the Placement Matches, despite winning all the first four matches they played so far at Germany/Greece 2023.
But it was not plain sailing for the Hungary team, which saw themselves down three goals (5:8) after 15 minutes. Sweden picked up their superb form from the preliminary round and started the game with an excellent run fueled by Felix Möller and Kasper Palmar. This experienced pair had also shined in the previous matches.
However, Hungary woke up after a timeout taken after 16 minutes and their attack started to click. Right wing Bence Imre produced another flawless display, with five goals out of five shots, while left back Gergö Fazekas added four goals, including the last two of the first 30 minutes, to propel Hungary to a 16:13 lead at the break.
An 11:5 finish of the first half looked to be instrumental for Hungary in getting their fifth win in a row and extending their streak, but Sweden knew that their only chance to progress to the knockout phase was to win this match. 
Therefore, right back Palmar became crucial for Sweden, as the Scandinavian side tied the game (24:24) with five minutes to go, with Palmar scoring eight goals in the game and dishing another three assists on the way. Seeing a three-goal gap vanish into thin air was undoubtedly difficult for Hungary, yet it was not the end of the road for them, despite Sweden taking the lead with four minutes left. 
Backed by an excellent form displayed by goalkeeper Krisztián Mikler, who saved 12 shots for a 33% saving efficiency, and an 11-goal game from Imre, Hungary finished the game with a 4:0 run, which helped them seal a place in the quarter-finals, with their fifth win in a row.
Hungary’s win means that they have secured the first place in the group and will face the second-placed side of Group I, either Germany or Croatia, in the quarter-finals. At the same time, Sweden have virtually no chance to progress now, as Denmark are the most likely team to finish on the second place.
hummel Player of the Match: Bence Imre (Hungary)

  • Group IV

Iceland vs Egypt 29:28 (19:13)

Thanks to Benedikt Óskarsson's last-second goal, Iceland maintained their perfect record at the current World Championship, taking their fifth straight win at the competition. This result helped the European side secure a quarter-final berth and the first place in the group with the maximum of six points. 

In turn, Egypt suffered their second defeat in two days and stayed on two points. The second quarter-finalist from Group IV will be named after the match between Serbia and Greece, which will be played later today. A win or a draw will see Serbia through, and if Greece claim a victory, three teams will be tied on points, so the goal difference in their head-to-head encounters will play a key role. 

It was a dramatic match, although Iceland were clearly dominant for much of it. They showed a good team game, scoring from all angles, and while the 15 opening minutes were tight, the Icelanders enjoyed a 6:0 run between minutes 19 and 25 and led by six goals at the break.

Early in the second half, Iceland had another impressive run, this time 5:0, which gave them a double-digit lead (25:15) in the 41st minute. The game seemed to be decided, but the 'Pharaohs' had a different opinion, as they pushed hard for a comeback.

Suddenly, Iceland seemed to need more energy, as they started to make mistakes and scored only four goals in the last 19 minutes. In turn, Egypt gained momentum and started to slash the gap with every minute. It took the Africans just a quarter of an hour to overcome a 10-goal deficit and miraculously draw level at 26:26.

A lot was at stake, and both teams looked nervous in the last minute. But Iceland, who did not manage to score for 12 minutes, ultimately regained their firepower and weathered the storm. Egypt's top scorer Hisham Doieb scored his 11th goal in the match with 14 seconds to go, drawing level at 28:28, but Iceland earned a 7m shot in their last attack, and Óskarsson converted it, leaving the 'Pharaohs' heartbroken. 

hummel Player of the Match: Arnór Vidarsson (Iceland)