Unbeaten Belarus through to main round

16 Jan. 2021

Unbeaten Belarus through to main round

After struggling in the opening minutes of their second match at the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship against Republic of Korea, Belarus found their rhythm and almost every player contributed to the win and their main round spot. 

Belarus vs Republic of Korea 32:24 (15:9)

The first match of the day saw an improved Korea team from their opening match. While Belarus coach Iouri Chevtsov relied on the same 16 players as in their opening match, Korea head coach Il Koo Kang changed three players, from which Juin Kim and Taeung Kim scored in the first half. 

After Korea’s loss against Slovenia, they got off to the better start, leading 5:4 at 12th minute. Goalkeeper Changwoo Lee stood out, saving three shots within a minute. Under the eyes of left back Uladzislau Kulesh, who watched the entire match from the bench, right wing and Player of the Match Mikita Vailupau finally scored the first lead for his team at 6:5.

Belarus slowly pulled away and extended their lead to a comfortable six-goal advantage at halftime.

“We played with a very young squad in the second half, but it is really important for all of them, that they get their time on court to gain more experience at a World Championship,” said Chevtsov. 

Led by the team’s top scorer Jin-Young Kim, the Asian side tried to keep the game within reach, but weren’t able to come closer than six goals. With 13 minutes to go, Belarus got three two-minute suspensions. However, the young Korean squad failed to get past Ivan Maroz from the seven-meter line, who saved four of seven penalty shots during the game. 

Initiated by Maroz's superb actions, three unanswered goals from Belarus finally sealed the win, securing their second victory against Korea, after their 26:20 triumph at Spain 2013. 

“The most important thing today was the victory. That was an unusual match. Korea play different than the teams in Europe and they were able to produce a lot of mistakes on our side,” concluded Chevstov.

With one draw and today’s win, Belarus are the first Group H team to proceed to the main round. They play their final preliminary round game on Monday against Slovenia. 

hummel Player of the Match: Mikita Vailupau, Belarus