Hungary too strong for Korea on the first day in Kristianstad

12 Jan. 2023

Hungary too strong for Korea on the first day in Kristianstad

The first match in Kristianstad saw Hungary beat the Republic of Korea after a late first-half outing. Korea did their best, not allowing Hungary to go beyond a 12-goal lead throughout the match.

Group D

Hungary vs Republic of Korea 35:27 (21:11)

Just like the Republic of Korea had expected, the start of the 28th IHF Men's World Championship brought them a tough opponent. Korea got off to a good start, keeping the contest close until the 15th minute of the match. The Korean defence was dealing well with the stronger opponents, but their lack of experience started to show later in the match.

Even though we saw a Korean comeback from trailing by four to closing a gap to 4:6 right at the beginning of the match, Hungary soon imposed their own pace. Starting with Zoltán Szita's goal, the Hungarian side made a 4-0 goal run, which ended with Miklós Rosta's shot, giving them a comfortable 12:7 lead and causing Korean coach Rolando Freitas to call a time-out.

However, nothing changed for Korea, as Hungary slowly worked their way towards a double-digit lead by halftime. Seung Park shone for his country in the first half, scoring three times without a miss.

Right into the second half, Korea tried to make a difference by switching to a different style of defence, helping goalkeeper Donguk Kim to save seven shots and preventing Hungary from increasing their lead. With a set of Tae-hyun Ha's goals, Korea rebounded to 18:25.

When Richard Bodo scored for 30:22 in the 52nd minute of the match, Hungary's victory was assured. Hence, they slowed down in the last ten minutes of the match, especially defence-wise.

It came as a reward for a speedy Korean team, allowing them to close the gap even more. However, technical errors got in the way as they failed to score on two occasions, stopping them from trailing by only six goals.

Hungary restored their ten-goal lead in the last five minutes of the match, courtesy of Máté Lékai, who was the match's top scorer with seven goals. As the clock hit 60:00, the final whistle gave Hungary the fourth overall World Championship victory over Korea.

Hungary's top scorer Máté Lékai was very open about the match against the Republic of Korea, according to Hungarian Handball Federation: "We can be satisfied with the game shown in the first half, but in the second half we were caught by the opponent's open, man-catching defence. We are happy that we won, especially since the first match in a tournament is always tough. Today's victory, however, will not be enough to achieve our goals."

"I am happy, the first match is always very important at the World Championship, and Korea was a difficult opponent. In the first half, we defended strongly and were effective in the attack. After the break, the opponent's defence became much more disciplined, so we had to play with concentration throughout," said Hungarian head coach Chema Rodríguez to

hummel Player of the Match: Donguk Kim (Republic of Korea)