Denmark and Portugal fight for fifth, Croatia and Faroe Islands seek redemption

01 Jul. 2023

Denmark and Portugal fight for fifth, Croatia and Faroe Islands seek redemption

The last day of the 24th IHF Men's Junior World Championship starts off with the Placement Matches before things start to heat up with medal-worthy games. In the first morning game, the Faroe Islands will face Croatia, looking to get their hands on the best possible placement.

The Placement Matches will be closed with the clash of familiar foes, as both Denmark and Portugal are looking to end the World Championship on a positive note, securing their second straight win.

7/8 Placement Match

  • 10:00 CEST Faroe Islands vs Croatia

The Faroe Islands have been a hot topic at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, but since the unfortunate defeat against Serbia in the quarter-finals, their attacking skills and determination faded away.

Despite having better attack and defence statistics on paper than Denmark, the opponents read them well and left them with under 23 goals scored, the lowest number at the competition for the Faroe Islands.

Elias Ellefsen Á Skipagotu and the team must find a way to penetrate Croatia's defence and make more decisive shots, upgrading their attacking efficiency, which seemed to be at the lowest point since the start of the World Championship. Nevertheless, their second-ever World Championship participation will be written down in history books as their only previous achievement was 16h place in 2017.

The Faroe Islands will meet with Croatia for the first time, who are coming into the match after a second straight loss. Once again, Croatia showed they can control the game, but the turnovers and rushed attack are their Achilles heel and if the defence and the goalkeepers are not on the top-notch level, it's hard for them to shift the momentum.

Other than Matej Vuleta, Croatia are missing yet another player, Matej Komljenović and they will have an even tougher job against the Faroe Islands. Croatia's main force could be fast breaks and skilful Ivan Barbić. This is the ninth flagship competition for the Croats, and they have been placed worse than eight place on four occasions – in 1997, 1999, 2009 and 2017.

5/6 Placement Match

  • 12:30 CEST Denmark vs Portugal

Denmark returned to the winning track after a tough defeat in the quarter-finals. In the clash with the Faroe Islands, they showed strength and a good defensive display, beating their Faroese friends 26:23. They will face Portugal, who made a comeback against Croatia and sealed a comfortable win, ending their two-game defeat streak.

Goalkeeper Mathias René Rex Dorgelo was crucial for the win against the Faroe Islands, completely driving the competition's second-best top scorer Elias Ellefsen Á Skipagotu crazy with 17 saves at a 45% saving efficiency. The Danish side now have a chance to seal the fifth place, repeating the same success as the generation in 2019.

The Danes will now face Portugal, relying on their top scorer, Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen (35 goals). Portugal, on the other hand, are the competition's fourth-best defence and despite conceding more than average against Croatia, playing against the Scandinavian style of handball could be more to their liking.

Portugal, after winning a silver medal at the M20 EHF EURO 2022, have an opportunity to reach their third-best placement at the World Championship since their first appearance in 1993. They will look for André Sousa, Pedro Oliveira and Vasco Costa in the attack.

"It's a team we've played against a few times, a complete team with a good defence. They are excellent on the counterattack and have excellent ideas in the organised attack, so we have to pay close attention to our defence and run back. We will give everything to go in search of 5th place," said Portuguese assistant coach Ricardo Candeias.

The last time these two sides met in the major competition was at the M20 EHF EURO 2022 and Portugal were the better team, winning by 26:20, but this time they are missing the Mota da Costa brothers, Fransico and Martim.