Flawless win against Iceland bring Hungary back in the final after 46-year wait

01 Jul. 2023

Flawless win against Iceland bring Hungary back in the final after 46-year wait

For the first time in 46 years, Hungary will play for the title at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship after securing a clear 37:30 win against Iceland in the first semi-final at Germany/Greece 2023.

This was Hungary’s seventh win in a row in the competition, their best-ever streak at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, with yet another impressive display for the European side.

Semi-final 1

  • Hungary vs Iceland 37:30 (19:14)

In the first two matches of their six-game winning streak at Germany/Greece 2023, Iceland had conceded only 15 goals against Morocco and 18 goals against Chile. Sure, a semi-final is infinitely harder at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship. Still, the Nordic side conceded more goals in 30 minutes against Hungary than in 60 minutes in their first two matches.

One of the favourites to win the title before the start of the competition, Hungary confirmed their credentials so far but delivered their most impressive performance as of yet at Germany/Greece 2023, with their attack firing from all cylinders, with at least 10 players scoring at least one goal in the first 30 minutes against Iceland.

With an aggressive 5-1 defence, which shut Iceland down in the first 18 minutes, Hungary created a big seven-goal gap (13:6) as their diminutive centre back, Dániel Sztraka, totally ran the show with some impressive skills, as the rhythm dictated by him was too much to handle for Iceland.

But what impressed the most was how efficient Hungary were in defence, with three steals, two coming from Péter Lukács, leaving Iceland in a constant state of stress, hampering their flow and creating uncertainty in every attack.

Goalkeeper Krisztián Mikler, the younger brother of Hungary’s senior national team shot stopper Roland, was also crucial at times, finishing the first half with seven saves for a 33% saving efficiency, as Iceland needed to do much more in the second part of the game to try and save something from this match.

Iceland could not stop Hungary’s juggernaut attack, as only two outfield players did not score a goal for Laszlo Sotonyi’s side, with the gap constantly growing.

Eventually, Hungary sealed a 37:30 win, the fourth-highest in history in a semi-final at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship and the highest in the past 12 years. 

In only their second semi-final in history at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, Iceland conceded the second loss. However, they can still tie their best-ever result, set at Egypt 1993, when they won the bronze medal, provided the Nordic team can secure a win in the bronze medal match on Sunday against the losing team of the second semi-final between Germany and Serbia.

On the other hand, Hungary celebrated their second final berth, ending a 46-year wait, which started at the first edition of the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship, Sweden 1977. Since then, Hungary only secured a bronze medal at Hungary 2005. Therefore, this will be their third-ever podium presence at the world handball flagship event.

hummel Player of the Match: Krisztián Mikler (Hungary)