Egypt 2021 bronze medallists open Poland/Sweden 2023 with win

12 Jan. 2023

Egypt 2021 bronze medallists open Poland/Sweden 2023 with win

Spain eased to a five-goal win over European rivals Montenegro as they started their 2023 IHF Men's World Championship preliminary group in Krakow, Poland.

Jordi Ribera's team won bronze at the 2021 IHF Men's World Championship in Egypt last time. They were comfortable against the Montenegrins at the Tauron Arena in a match where they were able to give all but Rodrigo Corrales a run out.

Group A

Spain vs Montenegro 30:25 (15:12)

Last time Spain were at a major championship in Krakow, they were on the podium – silver at the 2016 Men's European Championships.

On Thursday (12 January), they started what they hope will be their way back to a medal with a test against Zoran Roganović's Montenegro side, a nation appearing in their second-ever IHF Men's World Championship.

Their first was exactly a decade ago – in Spain, and Roganović played in it.

His side had led early, 7:6 in the 13th minute, but Spain adjusted and took the lead for good at 8:7 a few minutes later (17th minute). Shortly afterwards, they pushed ahead by four goals (13:9, 25th minute) for the first time.

Nebojša Simić impressed in the Montenegro goal – player of the match Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas later called his performance "outstanding" – with 15 saves (32% save rate) and did his best to keep Spain close. Still, his opponents were always one step ahead.

Kauldi Ordiozola top-scored for Spain with six goals, while Branko Vujović's seven meant he was the top scorer for Montenegro.

"We knew before that Montenegro have a very good team and that it would be a very, very difficult match because they play so well, 100%," said Spain's Jorge Maqueda, who played in that final back in 2016, to

"We feel very good because it's always very important to start the competition well. Everybody knows that the first match in a championship is so difficult because all the teams want to start with a win. We play 100% all match, and this victory is very important for us because we prepared very well, enjoyed it, suffered a little and won. This is important."

Both teams are in action again this Saturday (14 January), with Spain up against Chile and Montenegro going head-to-head with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

hummel Player of the Match: Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas (Spain)