Qatar seal fifth main round berth in a row

15 Jan. 2023

Qatar seal fifth main round berth in a row

It was not the easiest of matches, but Qatar secured their fifth main round berth at the IHF Men’s World Championship in a row, thanks to their first win at Poland/Sweden 2023, 29:24 against Algeria, eliminating the African team from contention.

Group E

Qatar vs Algeria 29:24 (12:11)

While Algeria have won only one of their last 13 matches at the IHF Men’s World Championship, they were still a team that could create issues for any opponent on a given day when everything clicks for them.

For Qatar, though, the prospect of the fifth consecutive main round berth in the world handball flagship tournament was also important, and a win against the African side would have sealed it for them.

Yet Algeria provided a tough challenge even from the start of the match when they used a 5:0 run between the sixth and the 13th minutes to create a 7:3 lead, which prompted Qatar’s coach, the experienced Valero Rivera, to take a timeout to try and calm his players.

It was not an unassailable lead, especially as Qatar had some experienced players in their ranks, and this is where Rafael Capote, who is featured in the fifth consecutive edition of the IHF Men’s World Championship, rose to the occasion. With one goal and one assist, he was the mastermind of a 3:0 unanswered run for Qatar that really helped the Asian champions to get back into the fold.

With a 12:11 lead at the break, Qatar shrugged off their issues and kept the match under control in the second half, with the same Capote leading by example and helping his side on both sides of the ball with a superb game.

Capote and right back Jovan Gacevic, who combined for 13 goals in the match, were the engines for a 4:1 run to start the first half, which saw the Asian champions take their first four-goal lead (16:12) after 35 minutes.

But Algeria did not back down. Receiving some much-needed help from their most experienced player, right back Abdi Ayoub, the African side cut the gap to only one goal, 19:18, with 18 minutes to go, ensuring that the end of the match was going to be a nail-biter.

In the end, though, it was Algeria’s attack that really hampered their chances of a win. With a meagre 53% efficiency and 11 turnovers, the African side collapsed in crunch time without a chance to create the needed pressure to see Qatar back into a corner.

In fact, as Gacevic and Capote, with the latter being named the hummel Player of the Match, became unstoppable, Qatar cruised to a 29:24 win, finishing the match with a 4:1 run that saw their opponents scoring only one time in the last eight minutes of the match.

As Algeria lost their second match in a row after the one against Serbia two days ago, the African side has lost any chance of progressing to the main round of the competition after reaching that phase of the competition at Egypt 2021 with a win against Morocco.

On the other hand, the three teams that have qualified for the main round from this group are already known, with Germany, Serbia and Qatar progressing to the next phase. Germany starts with four points thanks to their wins against Serbia and Qatar, while the Asian champions face Serbia, with the points being taken in the main round.

hummel Player of the Match: Rafael Capote (Qatar)