2023 IHF Men’s Beach Handball Global Tour Stage 1: Brazil’s perfect start
28 Apr. 2023
Host nation Brazil lead Stage 1 of the 2023 IHF Men’s Beach Handball Global Tour in Maricá.
The city in Rio de Janeiro state is hosting the opening stage from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 April with today (Friday 28 April) as a rest day.
With 12 of the 20 games completed already in the men’s competition, the host nation top the preliminary group with a perfect record, sitting on eight points. They are ahead of Portugal and Uruguay (six points each), Argentina (4) and the United States of America and Chile (zero each).
The current ANOC World Beach Games title-holders are impressing on their home sand, winning all four of their games so far over the first two days of preliminary group action.
After opening their account with two straight 2-0 wins against Chile and the USA on Wednesday, they then saw off Argentina (2-0) on Thursday morning before facing Uruguay in the evening in a dramatic game.
The visitors took the first set (18:16), but the home side powered back to send it to a shoot-out thanks to a 19:12 second set win.
The shoot-out was tense, going to a second round of shots. The first round of five shots each saw Uruguay get off to the worst possible start as Joaquin Rodriguez Mayado shot over the bar.
Brazil then took the opportunity to go ahead (4:2), but after Uruguay brought the shots back level (4:4), the home side failed to capitalise as Fernando Ariel Sequeira Saravia in the Uruguay goal saved from Joao Paulo Sousa.
It went to the second round of shots and it started the same way for the Uruguayans, as they missed their first; Santiago Rodriguez Mayado put off by the onrushing Marcelo Tuller in the Brazilian goal as his shot went well wide. It was left to Matheus Victor Medeiros to sink home the single point for victory for Brazil and he did just that to confirm four out of four for the team in gold and green.
Another team wearing green is breathing down Brazil’s necks, though, as the sole European representatives in Maricá, Portugal, lie in second place.
After losing their opening match (0-2) to Uruguay, they saw off Argentina (2-0) and then Chile (2-0), but were taken to a shoot-out against the USA in the match preceding that exciting Brazil-Uruguay clash.
After a 16:14 first set win for the USA and 20:12 second set win for Portugal, the shoot-out saw a weak lob attempt from the USA’s Alexander Browne easily smothered in the Portuguese goal. But with Ebiye Udo-Udoma on goalkeeping duties for the Americans, he drew an attacking foul against Vasco Silva for Portugal, ensuring the teams were back even.
But it was heartbreak for the North American men as Matthew Koman shot well over with their eighth shot, allowing Diogo Ferreira to smash home the single point for victory. The result meant that, like Chile, the USA ended the two days of action with four losses from four.
Uruguay are quickly becoming the team with the most drama. After opening the stage with an impressive 2-0 win over Portugal, their next three matches went to shoot-outs. Two of them – against the USA and Chile – resulted in wins, while they lost that dramatic final against Brazil.
Just three matches remain in the men’s preliminary stage, with Chile facing the USA, Uruguay taking on Argentina and Brazil playing Portugal on Saturday (29 April) morning. The 5/6 placement matches and two semi-finals will take place in the late afternoon/evening session.
Having lost all of their matches so far, both the USA and Chile cannot progress as one of the top four teams to those semi-finals, meaning they will now play each other twice on Saturday, firstly in their group game and then again in the 5/6 placement match.
After the first two days, Argentina’s Santino Sposito is the top scorer with 52 points from his four games, consisting of 27 goals from 45 attempts. Just behind him are teammate Jorge Nahuel Perez Baptista and Chile’s Juan Pablo Rubio, both on 50 points.
As expected, Brazil’s Bruno Carlos de Oliveira leads the in-flight assists with 27 in his three games so far and he leads the MVP statistical leaderboard, a ranking system developed by live score providers Toma-soft, with 71.05 points.
All games are being streamed live on the IHF Competitions YouTube channel.
For match schedules, live score, statistics and much more, visit the IHF.info mini-site.
Photo: Santi Russo/ @Play_Handball