Group C: Will Angola upset Qatar again?

15 Jan. 2021

Group C: Will Angola upset Qatar again?

Group C finally begins their World Championship campaign today and sees the same group opening match as at Germany/Denmark 2019 when Angola upset Qatar. 

Qatar vs Angola 16:30 CAT

The set up is almost the same as two years ago, when Qatar and Angola met in their opening preliminary round match. Angola took a 24:23 win over the Asian Champions after a thrilling fight, coming down to two goals in the final seconds. It was Angola's only group phase win, but the win basically threw Qatar out of contention for a main round berth.

However, Qatar is focused and one of the teams favoured to proceed to the next phase of the competition. The team will have both experience and cohesion on their side, with many of them already having played under Spanish coach Valero Rivera for the past years.

Last year in Kuwait, they won their fourth AHF Men’s Asian Championships in a row.

Angola goalkeeper, Giovane Muachissengue, is confident¬†telling,¬†‚ÄúI believe we can win again even though the match is extremely difficult, and Qatar will have learnt their lesson.‚ÄĚ This is Angola's¬†fifth World Championship appearance¬†and their third in a row with the aim to improve their final ranking (23rd) of the last edition.¬†

Croatia vs Japan 19:00 CAT

The second match will see Croatia, who are not only the favourites of this group but also among the favourites to claim the title. They have enough talent, strength and experience at all positions, among them Domagoj Duvnjak, who was voted Most Valuable Player at the Menr's EHF EURO 2020 and recently won the EHF Champions League with his club THW Kiel. 

The 2020 European Championship runners-up proved to be in good shape, winning 31:28 against the European Champions Spain in the EHF EURO Cup 2022 earlier this month.

The Croatian team have beaten Japan twice in two previous World Championship matches, 34:25 at Tunisia 2005 and 35:27 at Germany/Denmark 2019 in the preliminary round. 

While Croatia landed on 12 January, Japan were the first to team to arrive to Egypt on 3 January. They played two friendly matches against the hosts and were defeated 29:34 in the first match. Two days later they played a good first half, but eventually lost 25:33.

Being hosts of the Olympic Games this summer, the aim of this World Championship campaign for Icelandic coach Dagur Sigurdsson and his team is not only to strengthen a positive and excitement view on Japanese handball, but also to improve their 24th place from two years ago.