Heavyweights ready for return of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship

22 Jun. 2022

Heavyweights ready for return of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship

Live blog: The 23rd IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship has thrown off with a full 16-game card in Slovenia today, as all the 32 sides that were present in the competition, representing five continents, entered the fray. 

In the first matches, as expected, Poland, Germany and Romania, the favourites in their matches, prevailed. The duel between the debutants, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Guinea, ended with a draw. 

The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the clash between two of the teams that finished on the podium four years ago, at Hungary, 2018, when silver medallists Norway measure up against the bronze winners, the Republic of Korea, at 15:30 CEST, in the Golovec Arena in Celje. The hosts face Mexico, just after the opening ceremony in the Golovec Arena.

Today's matches:

  • 10:30 CEST Poland vs United States of America (37:14)
  • 11:30 CEST Germany vs Chile (40:18)
  • 12:30 CEST Islamic Republic of Iran vs Guinea (19:19) / Romania vs Angola (26:23)
  • 13:30 CEST Czech Republic vs Lithuania (33:16)
  • 14:30 CEST Croatia vs Kazakhstan (36:15) / Slovakia vs Japan (17:29)
  • 15:30 CEST Norway vs Korea (26:22)
  • 16:30 CEST Switzerland vs Austria (26:33) / Sweden vs Tunisia (32:25)
  • 18:30 CEST Slovenia vs Mexiko (37:18) / Argentina vs Italy (25:20) / Denmark vs Montenegro (24:20)
  • 20:30 CEST Hungary vs Egypt (39:20) / India vs Netherlands (18:46) / France vs Brazil (37:18)


22:00 CEST Full-time: Hungary vs Egypt 39:20

As expected in advance, Hungary beat Egypt. Egypt missed the chance to improve the result a little by converting just one-third of their penalties. 

More successful wasMíra Vámos, who scored nine goals on nine attempts. This puts her in fourth place in the top scorer list after the first day behind Austria Kristina Dramac, Germany lucy Jörgens and Slovenians Erin Novak. 

Egypt face the next tough task with Poland on Friday, while Hungary will again go into the match as favourites against the USA. 


21:58 CEST Full-time: Netherlands vs India 46:18 (23:10)

After scoring 23 goals in each half, the Netherlands became the most high-scoring team of the tournament on Wednesday with 46 goals. For rookies India it was hard to compete with the rivals who are participating for the 14th time at this level.

As many as 13 Dutch players found their names on the scoresheet, with Rome Steverink being the best with nine goals. Interestingly, Bhawana scored just as many for India –  half of the team's tally – yet her effort was not enough.

With two points, the Netherlands are top of Group A, ahead of Japan on goal difference, and they will face Slovakia in a European derby on Thursday. On the same day, India will meet Japan in an all-Asian encounter.


21:55 CEST Full-time: France vs Brazil 37:18 (20:9)

It is a wrap-up here in the Golovec Arena in Celje, after over ten hours of handball! The fifth and last game of the day saw France enjoy their second-largest win in ten years at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, 37:18, against Brazil, in what seemed to be a closer game at a first glance, but eventually transformed into an easy win for Eric Baradat’s side. After scoring 20 goals in the first half, France’s attack was scoring at a slower pace in the last 30 minutes, especially as goalkeeper Anna Silva started saving more shots.

However, the gap was too big between the two sides and Brazil’s attack really did not deliver in the game, as they surely need some changes before the last two games of the group, against the Republic of Korea and Norway, where they are underdogs once again. On the other hand, France’s mettle will be tested in the next matches, but they look like a smart and experienced team on both sides of the ball, ready to put in the work when needed.

Group D is definitely the one to watch after this first day, and it will be especially interesting to see how France measure up against Norway, who also won today against Korea.


21:40 CEST Hungary dominate Egypt 

Hungary started the second half of the match at full throttle. After 18 minutes they extended their lead to 31:14 and hardly gave Egypt a chance. Míra Vámos is still unstoppable and has now scored 9 goals on 9 attempts. Overall, her team has a scoring efficiency of 78%, while Egypt's has dropped to 50%. 


21:37 CEST France keep up the good work

That was France’s best first-half performance at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship since the Czech Republic 2012, when they scored 22 goals against Japan in a preliminary round match. Their output in the second half has dropped a bit, as they have scored only nine times in the first 15 minutes. Brazil have maintained their rhythm from the first half and they are still 16 goals behind, 29:13, as the game is as good as over.

It is a remarkable display of consistency from France, who has now 12 outfield players scoring from the 13 on the scoresheet.


21:07 CEST Half-time: Hungary vs Egypt 18:10

Hungary scored 9 goals in 15 minutes each and Egypt 5. The score at half-time was 18:10, with Míra Vámos standing out. She had a 100% scoring rate and scored 6 goals for Hungary.  Blanka Kajdon and Luca Faragó had an unblemished record of 4 out of 4. For Egypt, Mariam Ibrahim contributed 4 goals. Yara Mahmoud was similarly successful, sinking all three of her attempts. Overall, Egypt are not selling badly, even if the result suggests otherwise. One must not forget that the opponent is none other than the defending champions. 


21:05 CEST Half-time: India vs Netherlands 10:23 

India, who are playing their debut match at this level, should be credited for their fighting spirit, yet the difference between the rivals is obvious.

India missed two penalty shots, but the Netherlands also did not convert quite a number of chances, which did not stop them from hitting a 20-goal mark before the break. Their string of fast breaks turned into a commanding lead at half-time, which hardly leaves any doubts about the winner of this game.


21:04 CEST Half-time: France vs Brazil 20:9

France look like a machine at the start of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship in all departments, starting with the defence, where every player did her job and the two goalkeepers – Melanie Halter and Kabeya Tshisola Jemima – boast a 43,7% saving efficiency. But in attack, they have also been superb, firing from all cylinders, with breakthroughs, fast breaks and opening the game to the line players and wings. In total, 11 outfield players from the 14 in the lineup have scored at least one goal.

Therefore, it is no surprise that France are dominating this game and will likely be the top team in the group after the first round, with Norway delivering a four-goal win against the Republic of Korea. Surely, coach Eric Baradat will rest his players in the second half, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Brazil do mount a comeback here.


20:52 CEST Hungary leave Egypt hardly a chance

After a slow start, the defending champions took off. Within 5 minutes, Hungary scored 5 goals and pulled away to 9:4. Egypt tried to keep up but didn't have many chances against the powerhouse. They hardly manage to overcome the defence and so far only convert every second shot into a goal. But it is the best atmosphere in the Zlatorog Arena so far. The fans are supporting the teams loudly. 


20:50 CEST India trying to fight, but the Netherlands dominate 

While the Islamic Republic of Iran and Guinea ended their Group B match in a draw earlier today, the third debutant of the IHF Women's Junior World Championship, India, has a hard task of playing the much more experienced Netherlands. So far, the Asian team has been trying to fight, but the Dutch have an advantage and lead 12:6 in minute 15, with Pipy Wolfs being their top scorer with three goals.


20:45 CEST Strong display from France look set to leave Brazil emptyhanded 

It is definitely looking good for Brazil. France’s defence has been amazing, stopping everything the South American side prepared for this game. But it is also about Brazil’s own undoing, missing two penalties, which could have weathered the storm a bit. But in the first ten minutes of the game, France jumped to a 7:1 start, that created a big cushion and what will probably prove an unassailable lead.

As usual, France relies on the team rather than individual players, as they already had six different scorers after 11 minutes. The European side already looks like the real deal, but their mettle will be proven in their next two games, against the Republic of Korea and Norway, much tougher opponents than Brazil, at least from how it looks after 13 minutes when France jumped to a 9:3 lead.


20:20 CEST France and Brazil finish off a superb day in the Golovec arena

We are counting down the minutes before the start of the last game of today’s card in the Golovec Arena in Celje. Right upon this point, there were no surprises here and France are starting as big favourites against Brazil, who were second in January 2022 in the South and Central American Women’s Junior Championship. Whether they made a progress or not since they lost against Argentina, there is still to be seen.

The European side have a big advantage over Brazil in terms of experience, with the likes of Melanie Halter and Sarah Bouktit becoming French champions with Metz Handball and playing in the EHF Champions League Women. Are we going to see another big win today, after Germany’s 22-goal rout of Chile or Slovenia’s 19-goal win against Mexico?


20:05 CEST Full-time Argentina vs Italy 25:20 (11:8)

While Italy did better early in the game, it did not take long for Argentina to take the game under their control. They did not concede a goal between minutes 10 and 23, and later also between minutes 32 and 45, and these impressive runs helped the South American team to create a solid advantage and settle the game long before the final whistle. In the closing minutes, Italy managed to cut the deficit, but they had no chance to earn any points.

After a good start, Argentina have two points and will face Montenegro on Thursday, while Italy, who need to improve their attacking efficiency a lot, will be tested by Denmark on the same day.


20:00 CEST Full-time: Denmark vs Montenegro 24:20 (12:11)

In the end, Denmark won the match against Montenegro by a four-goal margin. It was not yet the match one would have expected from the favourites. With just a goal-scoring efficiency of 56%, they lagged behind other top teams. Montenegro, on the other hand, can be satisfied with their debut at the World Championship despite the defeat. They converted 67% of their shots and their penalty rate is even 100%. Denmark’s Maria Berger Wierzba was the best scorer for the Scandinavians with 7 goals. Nada Kadović and Sara Gugac scored five times each for Montenegro. 

Denmark will next face Argentina. Montenegro face Italy. Here in the arena, the last match of the day starts at 20:30: defending champions Hungary face Egypt.


19:55 CEST Full-time: Slovenia vs Mexico 37:18 (23:8)

Slovenia just recorded their second-largest win in history at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, 37:18, against Mexico. The record, a 28-goal drubbing of Australia, 42:14, at North Macedonia 2008, is still a long way ahead, but Sebastjan Oblak’s side did their job, especially after a slow start, where the emotions took the best of the hosts. But after Mexico cut the gap to a single goal, 8:7, nothing ever worked for them, with Slovenia amping up their defence, while on attack they created and converted clear-cut chances.

Slovenia’s left back Erik Novak was superb, scoring ten goals and jumping into the second place in the top goal scorer standings, behind Austria’s Kristina Dramac (14 goals) and tied with Germany’s Lucy Joergens, but, more importantly, it was a win that lifted the hosts’ morale and helped them boost their expectations ahead of their next two matches in Group F, against Chile and Germany. They are second in the standings, behind Germany (+22) on goal difference, but Slovenia just got closer to the main round.


19:45 CEST Argentina even more dominant after the break

After an 11:8 lead at the break, the South American team continued to dominate in the second half. Between minutes 34 and 45, they enjoyed another impressive run, this time 8:0, which allowed them to pull clear at 20:10. Italy continue to struggle in attack, their players make too many mistakes, and a meagre shot efficiency of 32% suggests that the European team are very unlikely to avoid a defeat.


19:40 CEST Denmark pulls away

A better start for Denmark. They found their way into the game better and better and were now clearly ahead 18:14 after 15 minutes. Can Montenegro fight their way back or will Denmark dominate the rest of the game? At least in terms of shooting efficiency, Montenegro is ahead. They have converted 62% of their shots so far. Denmark only 55%.


19:38 CEST Slovenia keep Mexico in check

Slovenia scored just three goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half, prompting coach Sebastjan Oblak to take a timeout and reassess the focus of the team. Several players who were handed a rest since the 20th minute of the game are back on the court now, including Novak and Klemencic. Surely, Slovenia seems to work better when they are contributing.

Mexico’s comeback at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship is not stellar, but they are surely learning a thing or two about how to cope with the intensity of the game. They have already scored five goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, which is not much, but it surely is motivating for the inexperienced side. Before the last 15 minutes of the game, Slovenia are still leading comfortably, 28:13, and are heading for their first win, but it is unlikely to be enough to jump on the first.


19:10 CEST Half-time: Argentina vs Italy 11:8

Both rivals seem to struggle in attack in this Group C match, as illustrated by the half-time statistics: Argentina have a 48% shot efficiency, Italy have 35%.

Italy enjoyed a better start of the match to lead 5:2, but then they failed to score for 13 minutes (between minutes 10 and 23). A good defence and Anna Azul's saves helped Argentina to grab the initiative and take a 6:5 lead, and the South American side increased the gap to three goals by the break.


19:07 CEST Half-time: Slovenia vs Mexico 23:8

Talking about Mexico’s physical reserves, well… they were gone just after we posted the previous post. Slovenia’s goalkeeper, Karin Kuralt, took control of the game, saving 11 shots for a 57.8% saving efficiency, as Mexico basically hit a wall in attack, enabling Slovenia to enjoy an 8:0 unanswered run and to end the half with a 16:1 run, with line player Valentina Klemencic and left back Erin Novak shining, as they combined for ten goals in the first half. And Slovenia just set a record in this tournament for the largest number of goals scored in the first half, 23, one more than Germany’s 22 in the first game in this arena, Golovec, in Celje.

Novak’s powerful shot and Klemencic’s experience worked wonders against Mexico, which scored a single goal in the last 16 minutes of the game, despite using a seven-on-six attacking tactic. The winner is already known in this game, let’s see if Slovenia win by more than 22 goals to jump to the first place in the group standings.


19:05 CEST Half-time: Denmark vs Montenegro 12:11

It was a tight game. In the first half, neither team managed to pull away. On the contrary, the score was tied after 20 minutes. It was assumed that Denmark would start the tournament with enough self-confidence after their victories against the Netherlands and Norway at the Scandinavian Open, and they were the favourites.

Now, however, there are two equal opponents on the field who do not give each other anything. Montenegro even took the lead in the 26th minute. But Denmark countered directly. It continued to go back and forth. A few seconds before the whistle, Denmark scored another goal, so they went into the break with the lead.  



18:50 CEST Close fight between Argentina and Italy

Italy have not played at the IHF Women's Junior World Championship since 1983, but now they received a Wild Card to participate in the tournament – and it looks like this team has a chance to open it with a victory. The good defence helped the European team to establish a 5:2 lead, but Argentina did not give up and closed the gap to 4:5 by minute 15, so everything is still ahead of us in this hard-fought encounter.


18:45 CEST Mexiko deliver superb start to shock Slovenia

This is definitely not the start Slovenia were eyeing when they thought about the game against Mexico, in their maiden match at the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship. The hosts were error-prone, turned the ball over too many times and looked definitely unfocused in the first 15 minutes. On the other hand, Mexico’s sheer joy of being here and taking on the court is just infectious. Despite turning the ball over five times and leaking easy goals in defence, they still are close after 14 minutes, with Slovenia taking a 9:7 lead.

Mexico relied heavily on an aggressive defence, which changed from 4-2 to 3-3 at times, which definitely hampered Slovenia’s attack. But is their physical level enough to help them keep it up for the whole game? Probably not. Yet Mexico surely upped their level in the last years.


18:20 CEST Pumped-up audience expects big win from hosts Slovenia

After the 23rd edition of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship was declared officially open during a ceremony in the Golovec Arena in Celje by the IHF Executive Committee Member, Narcisa Lecușanu, we are slowly getting back to grips with the fourth game in this arena, which will see hosts Slovenia face Mexico. The North American and Caribbean champions return to the competition for the first time since 2010 but will be big underdogs against a Slovenia side which eyes a great performance and has plenty of experience at the highest level.

In the other game of Group F, Germany beat Chile earlier 40:18, but Slovenia could leapfrog them if they beat Mexico by a higher goal difference. The audience is starting to gather in the arena, so we are expecting quite a hearty welcome for the hosts.


18:05 CEST Full-time Sweden vs Tunisia 32:25 (15:12)

In the second half, Sweden lived up to their role as a powerhouse. They continuously increased their lead so that in the end it was between 7 and 8 goals. The top scorer was Charité Mumbongo, who scored seven times from her 8 attempts. Even though they could not keep the 90%, the scoring efficiency was 74% in the end and thus clearly higher than Tunisia's, who only managed 57%. In terms of penalties, both teams can shake hands: Tunisia converted 57%, Sweden 50%.  

On Saturday, both teams will face the World Cup newcomers in their group. Sweden face Iran, and Tunisia can hope to beat Guinea one more time. Like the last time, they met for bronze at the continental championships. 

Denmark play Montenegro at 18:30 at the Zlatorog Arena.


18:00 CEST Full-time Switzerland vs Austria 26:33 (10:18)

In an Alpine derby, Austria was firmly in control of the game against Switzerland and ultimately earned a well-deserved win, 33:26. Right back Kristina Dramac was the heroine of the day, as she scored 14 goals for the Austrians, including 11 in the first half, as was named Player of the Match.

With two points, Austria are second in Group G, behind Croatia on goal difference – and the two teams will meet on Friday, while Switzerland will face Kazakhstan on the same day.


17:35 CEST Austria maintain strong lead

Compared to the first half, the game has somewhat levelled off, but Austria maintain a comfortable lead, 24:16 midway through the second half which hardly puts their victory in question.
Notably, Kristina Dramac, who netted 11 times in the first half, scored her first goal after the restart only in the 46th minute.


17:10 CEST Half-time Switzerland vs Austria 10:18

Austrian right back Kristina Dramac has played a superb first half, scoring as many as 11 of her team's 17 goals so far. Her impressive impact propelled Austria to a comfortable 18:10 lead in the match against their geographical neighbours.

Switzerland, who are playing at the IHF Women's Junior World Championship for the first time since 1997, seem to struggle at this level. However, they still have 30 minutes to improve their game and maybe even try to make a strong comeback – or at least to close the gap.


17:05 CEST Half-time Sweden vs Tunisia 15:12

Sweden go into the break with a three-goal lead. It almost became four, but the ball crossed the line of the empty goal only after the whistle. The game is more even than expected. The Swedes were clearly seen as the favourites. Also because they have four players in their team who have already made their senior debuts. It will be exciting to see whether Tunisia can still hold out in the second half or whether the European powerhouse will really step on the gas and live up to its role.


17:00 CEST Full-time Norway vs Republic of Korea 26:22 (13:11)

We are now officially halfway through the first day of the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship after Norway secured a hard-fought 26:22 win against the Republic of Korea. It was a tense match, probably the most entertaining so far at Slovenia 2022, which saw a lot of ups and downs, a roller-coaster ride for both sides, who deployed unanswered runs, trading blows during the fast-paced 60 minutes in the Golovec Arena in Celje. Eventually, it was Norway who got away with the points, but it was not for the lack of trying on Korea’s part, who played an excellent game at times, with their trademark fast-paced game really putting Norway under pressure.

The experience was, however, decisive in the end, as no players on the Republic of Korea’s side got contact with European handball until this point. They will definitely have a mountain to climb if they are to secure the qualification for the main round, needing wins against France and Brazil in the next matches. Failure to proceed to the next round will mean that for the first time ever, in 20 editions of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship they took part, they will finish outside of the top 10. Their worst result as of now is the ninth place, in 1997, 1999 and 2001.

On the other hand, Norway made a huge step towards progressing to the next phase and trying to build on the silver medal they won at the previous edition, Hungary 2018. This is a somewhat atypical Norway side, with taller and stronger players than usual, but eventually, they got the job done, while still playing fast handball and relying heavily on fast breaks.


16:50 CEST Austria pull in front in alpine derby

In the all-European clash, the fight has been close early in the match, but gradually Austria started to pull clear, and they enjoy a 9:6 lead by minute 16.

Their goalkeeper Kerstin Sander has made several saves, while the Swiss defence finds it hard to hold back Austria's right back Kristina Dramac, who has already netted five times.


16:50 CEST Sweden with turnaround

Tunisia started the game better and quickly took the lead. At 2:4, the Swedish coach, Jesper Östlund, took an early timeout. This helped his team to equalise after 10 minutes and to take the lead shortly afterwards. But Tunisia did not let themselves be shaken off and the score was 7:7 after 15 minutes. 

In the meantime, Sweden has been able to increase their all shot efficiency to 89% and pulled away with 3 goals after 18 minutes. 


16:00 CEST Little to separate Norway and Republic of Korea, as crunch-time awaits

This is still anybody’s game, as Norway’s attack has been neutralised by the Asian defence, while goalkeeper Juhyun Lee has also recorded four saves in the first 11 minutes of the second half. From a 16:12 lead, Norway saw themselves tied with the Republic of Korea, 16:16, after a 4:0 run for Seong Ok Oh’s side, as Norway failed to score for seven minutes and 52 seconds. Despite a timeout called by Tore Johannessen, Norway did not improve enough, so they are now living dangerously.

It is definitely the most balanced game of the competition so far, with two totally different handball styles colliding, providing an entertaining game, despite the two teams combining for only 35 goals after 45 minutes. With 15 minutes left in the match, Norway lead by one goal, 18:17 but are put in a difficult spot, after two players were suspended in the space of one minute.


16:06 CEST Half-time: Norway vs Republic of Korea 13:11

That time-out taken by Korea early in the first half looked to have worked, but Norway just took the air out of the Asian side’s comeback, with another 3:0 run that was fueled by a pair of saves from goalkeeper June Cecilie Krogh, who has saved shots throughout the first half, for an efficiency of 35%. It truly is a collective effort, but with Rikke Midtfjeld and Frida Andersen being unstoppable at times – they combined for six of Norway’s 13 goals in the first half – the Scandinavian side is still ahead at the break, 13:11.

What about Korea? They are still deploying the same type of handball, which is dazzling, but their players are also turnover-prone, as mistakes will eventually happen when the rhythm is so fast. They lost seven attacks due to unforced errors, which can seem like a lot. But they still hurt Norway at times. The Asian side just needs to avoid scoreless stints like the 0:4 run and the 0:3 run this half and they could mount a comeback? Is it possible? Surely. Is it doable? We still have 30 minutes to find the answer to that question.


16:00 CEST Full-time Slovakia vs Japan 17:29 (11:12)

In the end, a significant victory for Japan with a 12-goal lead. Who would have thought that after the first 30 minutes were so close? But the numbers speak for themselves: while Japan has a 66% all shot efficiency, Slovakia has only 40%. The penalty rate for the Europeans was also just 56%, for the Asians 80%. 

Slovakia can redeem themselves against India on Saturday. There they are the favourites. Japan have to face the Netherlands. That will definitely be a tougher task. Next up in the Zlatotog arena will be Sweden against Tunisia. 


15:55 CEST Full-time Croatia vs Kazakhstan 36:15 (18:6)

The outcome of this match was clear long before the final whistle, as Croatia were way too strong for their rivals from Kazakhstan. The European team heavily rotated their squad in the second half, so as many as 14 of their players scored at least once.

Having earned two points, Croatia made the first step towards the main round, while Kazakhstan will try to do better in the next games with Switzerland and Austria, who will now face each other in Lasko at 16:30.


15:45 CEST Norway deliver excellent start against Korea’s fast paced game

This is undoubtedly the best game so far at the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship. The two teams are trading blows and there have already been three lead changes in the first 11 minutes of the match, with both Norway and the Republic of Korea alternating good moments with ones that really let themselves down. However, the sheer speed provided by Korea’s attack is just dazzling, as well as some dribbles and direction changes from backs Jaeyoung Lee and Yeonsong Lee. The two backs have been constantly putting Norway on the wrong foot, but can they do that throughout the whole 60 minutes?

On the other hand, Norway already look tired, after being put to the test by the fast-paced attack of Korea. Yet the Scandinavian side has constantly found ways to exploit the opponent’s defence, with Rikke Midtfjeld and Frida Andersen both scoring twice. And after a 4:0 run, which prevented the Republic of Korea to score for more than five minutes, Norway are up 6:3, forcing Korea’s coach, Seong Ok Oh, to take the first time-out, after just 11 minutes.


15:41 CEST Japan set themselves apart

While it was a close affair in the first half, Japan now dominate. Slovakia equalised at the beginning of the second half, but then they had nothing more to offer against Japan. After 15 minutes they lead by a comfortable margin of eight goals. Japan's goalkeeper Aimi Kato was frenetically celebrated by her team for a penalty saved.


15:35 CEST Croatia do not slow down

With the match all but decided, Croatia do not show any signs of slowing down, as they have increased their lead to 28:11 midway through the second half. Kazakhstan have been trying hard to improve their game, but their defence struggle against the face-paced Croats, and Kazakh's attack efficiency is at just 42%.


15:20 CEST Ready for the derby?

The game between Norway and the Republic of Korea is definitely the highlight of the day and its start is just around the corner. The Scandinavian side are the silver medallists from Hungary 2018, while their counterparts today finished third four years ago in the competition. However, the draw was not kind, as they were assigned to Group D, where France and Brazil are also waiting.

With only two teams progressing to the next phase of the competition, there is little to no room for mistakes, so the first game is paramount for the two teams at Slovenia 2022. Will the Republic of Korea, who is always a team that is likely to shock favourites, make their mark again? Or are Norway strong enough to secure a win in the Golovec Arena in Celje?


15:15 CEST Half-time: Still a tight match betwenn Slovakia and Japan 11:12

Even after 30 minutes, neither team could really pull away. Every time Japan pull a little ahead, Slovakia counterattack. So the Asians go into the break with only a one-goal lead. The game continued to be very defensive. Compared to the games in the morning when there were goal fireworks, here you see a lot of goals through penalties. It remains to be seen whether we will see more goals in the second half. And whether one team will manage to pull away.


15:10 CEST Half-time: Croatia with a 12-goal advantage

The statistics says it all: while Croatia enjoyed a 82 per cent shot efficiency in the first half, their rivals from Kazakhstan were limited to 35 per cent and just six goals.

Right wing Bruna Zrnic had a good first half, scoring six goals and contributing to her team's triple advantage at the break, 18:6. It looks like the game is all but decided, as Kazakhstan will hardly find a way to turn things around.


14:57 CEST Full time: Czech Republic vs Lithuania 33:16 (19:7)

Time is up now in the Golovec Arena in Celje and it was a clear-cut win for the Czech Republic against Lithuania, 33:16, as Dusan Poloz’s side jumped to the first place in the group, thanks to a superior goal difference to Romania, who won against Angola, 26:23, earlier.

It was a superb game for back Charlotte Cholevova, who scored nine goals, securing the second place in the top goal scorer list just behind Germany Lucy Joergens, who had 10 goals against Chile.


14:45 CEST: Croatia dominant against Kazakhstan

Croatia, who have not missed a single edition of the IHF Women's Junior World Championship since 2001, were seen as strong favourites against Kazakhstan, who are the only non-European team in Group G.

And the Croats did not waste time, quickly taking the game under control. Solid in defence and efficient during attacks, they restricted Kazakhstan to just one goal in the opening 10 minutes. And although the Kazakhs then improved their attack, the European team comfortably lead 11:5 in minute 16.


14:45 CEST Match determined by the defence

After 11 minutes, just 7 goals have been scored in the match between Slovakia and Japan. Slovakia scored the equaliser at 3:4 with a penalty. So far, the game has been dominated by the defence. Slovakia has a disadvantage, of course, because there is no video footage of Japan from the last two years. They did not take part in any international tournaments because of Covid-19. It remains to be seen whether their lack of match practice will show in the course of the match. 


14:38 CEST Business as usual for the Czech Republic

There is not really much to add to the game in the Golovec Arena between the Czech Republic and Lithuania other than that it is business as usual for the Czech team. They will definitely lead the group after the first round, as Romania beat Angola, 26:23, in the other match, which ended just half an hour ago in the Zlatorog Arena in Celje.

As Lithuania are slowly getting to grips with the level of the competition, there are still plenty of things they will need to learn, as the number of turnovers made ballooned to 16 until the 45th minute. This is a lot and the result on the scoreboard is just correct, with the Czech Republic duly delivering a strong performance on fast breaks, where they punished nearly every mistake. The gap is still big, ten goals, as the Czech Republic is leading Lithuania 22:12, with 18 minutes to go.


14:10 CEST Final whistle: Islamic Republic of Iran vs Guinea 19:19 (7:9)

Both debutants of the IHF Women's Junior World Championship had their ups and downs throughout their encounter, so a draw is perhaps the most logical result, and both sides earned their first point at this level.

The Islamic Republic of Iran started the game better before Guinea seized the initiative and were in front for a long time. However, the Asian side seemed to have more energy left in the last quarter of the game. One minute from full time, they were in front 19:18, before Guinea's top scorer Yarie Sylla scored her fifth goal of the day from a 7m spot. At the Islamic Republic of Iran, Fatemeh Merikhi and Haniyeh Karimi stood out in attack, combining 11 of 19 their goals.


14:06 CEST Half-time in Golovec arena: Czech Republic vs Lithunia 19:7

Yes, it is only half-time, but the game is as good as over. The Czech Republic’s superiority was clear from the first minutes, especially as they managed to limit Lithuania’s attack in superb fashion, preventing a goal for almost the first ten minutes. Czech Republic did not do anything special, but their 8:2 run in the second part of the first half was just they needed to open up an unassailable gap, while also enabling coach Dusan Poloz to rotate several of his players and hand them some well-deserved rest.

The turnovers piled on for Lithuania – they lost the ball 11 times in the first half, mostly due to trying to play faster than they can, with passes going in the stands and missing the intended receiver. Surely, this is a steep learning curve and it might get better, but scoring only seven goals in the first half tied the worst performance at Slovenia 2022, after the Islamic Republic of Iran also scored only seven goals against Guinea, while Chile and the United States of America had only nine goals in the first 30 minutes in their respective matches.


14:00 CEST No surprise – Romania win against Angola 26:23 (12:10)

At the beginning of the second half, Angola even managed to reduce their deficit to one goal. But after about 10 minutes, they gradually increased it. Until they led by six goals in the meantime. As in the first half, Angola managed to close the gap again in the last third of the second half. But in the end it was not enough to secure a surprise victory. And yet, the African team can be proud that they were able to keep up so well with the top 10 contenders. Next they will meet the Czech Republic. While Romania will take on Lithuania. 


13:46 CEST Strong defence and amazing goalkeeping for the Czech Republic 

It took Lithuania nine minutes and 43 seconds to score their first goal at Slovenia 2022, as the Czech Republic defence duly delivered, with everything spiced by four special saves from goalkeeper Sarka Spurna. It was business as usual for the Czech team, who have been cruising in attack, on the back of some excellent play from back Charlotte Cholevova, who already looks sure about what she needs to do on the court. With two goals and two assists in the first 11 minutes, Cholevova just inspired her teammates in this match to start strong and never look back, as they jumped to a 7:2 lead after 15 minutes.

On the other hand, Lithuania have been just wasteful in attack, conceding too many easy mistakes and turning the ball over eight times since the first whistle. They need to up their tempo and seriously try to protect the ball more and find more open shots. Otherwise, the Czech Republic will just cruise to the win.


13:40 CEST Guinea on the way to historic win

Both teams still have problems with their attack efficiency, as they lose too many balls. However, Guinea continue to have the upper hand, as they are in front 14:12 midway through the second half. Will the African team cruise to a historic win in their debut match at this level, or will the Islamic Republic of Iran turn the tide in the remaining 15 minutes?


13:20 CEST No rest in Golovec: Lithuania vs Czech Republic starts in 10 minutes

No time to waste! As everybody has been advised, this day will really be a marathon, with 16 games taking place in the three venues at Slovenia 2022. While the Islamic Republic of Iran take on Guinea in the Tri Lilije Arena and Romania face Angola in the Zlatorog Arena in Celje, we are ready for a 100% European clash in the Golovec Arena in Celje.

Lithuania, who make their comeback in the competition after 17 years, will face the Czech Republic, who are the likely favourites, as their generation has been constantly improving. Will we see the first surprise of the competition, or are there chances for the underdogs to draw first blood at Slovenia 2022? Keep an eye on Czech Republic’s back Charlotte Cholevova, who is the leader of the team, has a strong arm and a superb shot and will likely be one of the top scorers of the competition.


13:15 CEST Half-time Guinea seized the initiative

With just 16 goals combined, this is still a low-scoring game between the two debutants Islamic Republic of Iran and Guinea, but they have improved their attach efficiency as the first half developed.

This particularly applies to the African team, who looked timid in the opening minutes but started to feel more confident after scoring their first goal at this level in the 8th minute. Some good defensive work and three goals by Yarie Sylla powered Guinea to a 9:7 lead at half-time, but the Islamic Republic of Iran still have every chance to turn things around after the break.


13:10 CEST Tight match between Romania and Angola

The first half of the match between Romania and Angola is much more even than expected. Favoured Romania have not been able to break away so far. They got into the game better and led 5:1 after 10 minutes. They could even extend the lead to 10:4 in the 20th minute. But then the game broke up and Angola reduced the gap more and more. They went into the break with a score of 12:10. 

A nail-biting second half is to be expected. Will Romania find their way back into the game and make use of their superiority or will it be the first surprise of the day?


13:00 CEST Final whistle: Germany vs Chile 40:18 (22:9)

Germany have had their share of clear wins at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship in the past decade, including a 41-goal win against Egypt and a 26-goal win against Kazakhstan, therefore this result against Chile, 40:18, is not even their biggest win in the competition. Yet it is their first winning start since Russia 2016, so the prospects are getting better and better for Andre Fuhr’s side. Sure, they need to fine-tune some aspects of the game, especially their discipline in defence – conceding seven suspensions against Chile is not the best way to start a competition – but, in general, things have been looking on the up, especially in the attack, where their pacy wings really had a superb efficiency on the fast breaks.

On the other hand, Chile, who are now in their third consecutive edition of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, still have a thing or two to learn to challenge for the top spots in the South and Central American Handball Confederation. They looked good at times, they had the proper motivation and grit, but lacking solutions from the bench really hampered their chances to limit the damage. No worries, their most important game of the competition will be the one against Mexico, on the third day of the preliminary round.


12:50 CEST Low-scoring game between two debutants so far

Both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Guinea are playing their first match at the IHF Women's Junior World Championship, and they obviously need some time to adjust to this level. In a low-scoring game, the Asian team enjoyed a betted start and led 2:0 before Yarie Sylla scored Guinea's first goal from the 7m spot almost eight minutes into the match. In the opening 15 minutes, the teams scored only five goals combined, as the Islamic Republic of Iran lead 3:2


12:35 CEST Who will win the duel between the debutants – Iran versus Guinea

As the match between Germany and Chile enters its final phase, Iran and Guinea, two teams taking part in an IHF Women’s Junior World Championship for the first time, face each other in the Tri Lilije Arena in Lasko. Who will hold their nerve in the end and win the premiere? At the same time, Romania kick off against Angola, who are competing in the Zlatorog Arena in Celje. Romania are favoured here. 

Germany had their issues in the first five minutes of the second half, scoring only one goal, as they really struggled in front of a sturdy defence from Chile, who switched from the traditional 6-0 to a more aggresive 5-1. Slowly, but surely, Germany adapted and started to score goal after goal, also helped by the comeback of left back Lucy Joergens, the top scorer of the game, who already has seven goals under her belt. It is an impressive game from the back who plies her trade at HSV Solingen-Graefrath 76, in the second German league.

While Poland beat the USA, 37:14, in the first match at Slovenia 2022, the record difference might be beaten in this match, as Germany are now leading 30:13, with 15 minutes to go. As coach Andre Fuhr might make changes, Chile could limit the damage, but Germany have the win in the big from the first half.


12:05 CEST Half-time: Germany vs Chile (22:9) – Poland beat USA (37:14)

Back Lucy Joergens and right wing Judith Tietjen combined for nine of Germany’s 22 goals in this first half and it just representative of what took place on the court of the Golovec Arena in Celje. By converting four one-on-one misses, which hit the post, Germany would have been even further away in this match, which they duly controlled from the first minute.

Chile will learn some valuable lessons from this match, especially taking better care of the ball and improve their shot selection, which was definitely not on par for this level. However, the 13-goal difference is right according to what happened on the court. Whether Germany looks like a contender for a medal or not, it is still to be seen, when they face stronger opponents. As of now, they just took a serious option to qualify for the main round at Slovenia 2022.

In the first match of the day Poland overran the USA. In the end, the European team won the game with a superior score of 37:14. The USA have to work on their shooting power from the back. But they will face another tough opponent in Hungary on Friday. The defending champions will certainly not press the gas less than Poland. 

They had a perfect start to the World Championships. The offensive was convincing with a high chance conversion, while the defence was hardly challenged. Let's see if that will be the case against Egypt. 


11:45 CEST Germany outpace Chile with superb defence

Germany’s pace here has been unforgiving, as they have been scoring at a rhythm of roughly one goal per minute, thanks to the balls won in defence, which have been easily converted by their pacy wings via fast breaks. Andre Fuhr’s side is not doing something special, rather than relying on their own experience to stop Chile’s attacks. Seven of Germany’s 12 goals were scored via fast breaks, with right wing Judith Tietjen scoring three times already.

This is turning quickly into a rout, as Germany are leading by a mile, 12:5, after 15 minutes, and it does not look like it will get better for Chile, who are simply lacking the back line to deal some serious blows to Germany. The South American side is usually linking well to their wings, but their attacking efficiency has already plummeted to 50%. At the moment, it just looks like an easy match for the European side.


11:30 CEST No mercy for the USA

While the match between Germany and Chile has just started, the match between Poland and the USA is coming to an end. After the break, the USA managed to close the gap a little, but after 15 minutes Poland pulled away and now lead 28:11. Despite the large deficit, the USA are not discouraged and continue to fight. But Poland do not let up either and aim for the goal one after the other. They mercilessly exploit every little weakness of their opponent. 


11:15 CEST Countdown to the throw-off in Golovec Arena

As the first half of the game between Poland and the United States of America just ended with a big lead for Poland (18:9), we are now heading to Celje, where the first game in Group F, the one between Germany and Chile will throw off in 15 minutes in the Golovec Arena. Germany, who have been perennial contenders at the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, will be heavily favoured against a side that finished fourth this January at the South and Central American Junior Women’s Championship.Facing Mexico and Slovenia in the next matches, Germany will surely use this opportunity to finetune their approach for the future at Slovenia 2022. “It takes time for everything to settle down. But we have made good steps and are on the right track,” said Germany’s coach, Andre Fuhr, according to the official website of the German Handball Federation. Will they look good today? Let’s see in 15 minutes!

11:00 CEST Poland make their mark against USA

We are underway at the 2022 IHF Women's Junior World Championship, with the first of the 16 games today throwing off in the Zlatorog Arena in Celje. Well, this turnout was expected, but Poland are really pushing the pedal to the metal against the United States of America. USA's lack of experience is there on display, as Poland take a commanding 16:5 lead after 20 minutes, as their star player, back Julia Niewiadomska, scored six goals already, more than the entire USA team. Stay tuned, we will have Germany vs Chile in 30 minutes, throwing off in the Golovec Arena in Celje.


10:20  CEST The throw-off is getting closer

The first day of the IHF will start soon. In 10 minutes the throw-off of the first match between Poland and the USA will take place. The teams are already warming up. 

15 more matches of the different groups are waiting for you today.



10:00 CEST How to watch

Want to follow the action live in the halls in Celje and Lasko? Then you can do so via livestream or partly also on TV

The fans of Poland can already do that today via viaplay. Enjoy the great sport.


09:30 CEST One hour to go until the throw-off of the opening match 

Ready? The start of the competition is just around the corner, and the first game will be the one featuring Poland and the United States of America in Group H. The latter team is back in the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship for the first time since 1981 – that is a long wait – but it highlights their ambitions before the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 when the USA side will be present in the handball tournament. As soon as the match enters the second half, the second game in the competition will throw off, with another European side, Germany, facing Chile. The clock is ticking – there is no time to waste!