Group F: Familiar foes meet in Round 1
14 Jan. 2021
With two European sides and two African sides in the group, consistency will be key in Group F at the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship. The first round is looming and this will pit sides who know each other very well against each other, marking an eye-catching first round for the New Capital Sports Hall.
Algeria vs Morocco 19:00 CAT
With Portugal and Iceland firmly holding the advantage in experience and depth, this could prove to be a pivotal game for both Algeria and Morocco in the quest for their best-ever finish at the World Championship.
Neither of the teams have pierced a top-10 finish in 21 combined attempts in the men’s handball flagship event, but history can tell that any team can spring a surprise, provided their chemistry works well.
With an experienced coach on their bench, Alain Portes, and a nearly flawless head-to-head record, including six wins in the past six mutual games, Algeria seem to have the upper hand.
Yet Morocco, with ambition and determination, could still spring a surprise or two, despite having won only two games in their six participations in the World Championship.
A young Moroccan side, featuring one 17-year-old and three 18-year-old players, will be eager to avenge the 30:33 loss to Algeria at the 2020 CAHB Men's African Championship.
This will be the second time the two sides meet at a IHF Men’s World Championship, with the previous game between Algeria and Morocco finishing in a 19:19 deadlock, coincidentally, 22 years ago, also in Egypt.
Portugal vs Iceland 21:30 CAT
By the time the first ball is thrown in the New Capital Sports Hall, the two sides will have met three times in the past 10 days.
Portugal and Iceland traded home wins last week in the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 qualification phase 2, with Portugal recording a 26:24 win, only for Iceland to avenge that loss with a 32:23 victory.
The face-off has all chances to be dubbed as a modern European classic in the making, with the two teams also having been pitted together at the Men’s EHF EURO 2020, where Iceland took a 28:25 win in the main round.
This time around, Portugal seem to be the more experienced team, as their exuberance could well play dividends, with coach Paulo Pereira always looking to have an ace up his sleeve.
In their fourth participation at the IHF Men’s World Championship, Portugal will definitely be looking to improve their best-ever result, the 12th place at Portugal 2003, but need a strong start against Iceland to achieve their goal.
While the focus may be on the players, it will also feature an exciting game between the two masterminds on the bench, as Pereira will face Gudmundur Gudmundson, who is back on the Icelandic bench after leading Bahrain at Germany/Denmark 2019.