Palicka's heroics steer Sweden to opening win

12 Jan. 2023

Palicka's heroics steer Sweden to opening win

In a sold-out Scandinavium in Gothenburg, co-hosts Sweden struggled for a long time, but ultimately claimed a commanding first win at the 28th Men's IHF World Championship, defeating Brazil by eight goals. 

Group C

Sweden vs Brazil 28:16 (11:9)

Sweden were seen as solid favourites in this match, but in the first half, they did not really live up to expectations. With a 55% shot efficiency in the opening 30 minutes, the Nordic team could not take firm control of the match despite getting loud support from their home crowd. 

Brazil fought bravely and did all they could to hold the co-hosts back. Their defence, led by Thiagus Petrus, did a good job and goalkeeper Rangel Da Rosa showed his quality, recording five saves before half-time and helping his team to stay in the fight. 

It was a low-scoring and extremely hard-fought half, and until the 29th minute none of the rivals could pull clear by more than one goal. However, Niclas Ekberg's second goal of the match secured Sweden an 11:9 lead at the break.

And after the restart, Sweden started to increase their advantage gradually. Andreas Palicka, who had made five saves in the first half, was brilliant as he added eight more to his tally before the 46th minute, and Jim Gottfridsson shone in attack as the Scandinavians led 19:14.
Palicka, who deservedly became hummel Player of the Match, was the day's hero as his multiple saves helped Sweden create a comfortable advantage and ultimately clinch a victory. The 36-year-old goalkeeper from Paris Saint-Germain ended the match with 17 saves and a 49% save rate and also managed to score a goal in the second half, while Gottfridsson enjoyed a 100% shot efficiency, six goals from six attempts.

Sweden now have two points and a +8 goal difference, similar to Cape Verde, and the two Group C leaders will meet on Saturday. In turn, Brazil now need to focus on the next matches, particularly on the South American derby with Uruguay, which is also scheduled for the day after tomorrow. 

hummel Player of the Match: Andreas Palicka (Sweden)