North Macedonia book main round ticket

18 Jan. 2021

North Macedonia book main round ticket

After two straight losses earlier in the preliminary stage, North Macedonia defeated Chile and finished third in Group G, claiming a berth in the main round.

For Chile, it was the third defeat in three games, and the bottom-placed South American team will now play in the President’s Cup. 

North Macedonia vs Chile 32:29 (16:17)

North Macedonia had won both previous encounters against Chile at IHF Men’s World Championships, as well as both friendly games prior to the current tournament. Now, in the crucial group match, the Europeans were the stronger side again. 

Both teams were nervous and made a lot of mistakes in the opening minutes, but Chile, who were again led by the Feuchtmann and Salinas brothers, were the better side early in the match as they made a few successful fast breaks and took a 7:5 lead midway through the first half. 

However, saves by Nikola Mitrevski as well as goals by 19-year-old right wing Nenad Kosteski helped North Macedonia to fight back, as they went in front for the first time in the 21st minute (10:9).

Kosteski netted five times before the break, and so did Chile's Sebastian Ceballos. The game turned into an open exchange of goals, but the South American team had a slight edge at half-time, leading by one (17:16). 

Early in the second half, the match was extremely tight, with a level score of 22:22 in the 39th minute. In the following ten minutes, though, North Macedonia benefitted from their opponents' mistakes and – thanks to a 5:1 run – pulled ahead, leading 27:23.

“In the second half, we improved our defence and scored some easy goals. Our back court players were really good, and it was very important for our victory,” said North Macedonia's coach Danilo Brestovac. 

While Mitreski continued to stop the balls, his back-up colleague Martin Tomovski saved a couple of penalties, and 40-year-old Kiril Lazarov led the way in attack, finishing the game as top scorer with eight goals.

Even though the last ten minutes of the match were not easy for the European team, they managed to clinch a three-goal victory. 

“It was a very tough game for us. We made a lot of mistakes in defence and were not efficient in attack, losing many balls,” Chile's coach Mateo Garralda concluded. 

hummel Player of the Match: Kiril Lazarov, North Macedonia