President's Cup Group II: North Macedonia and Tunisia to fight for top spot
20 Jan. 2023
North Macedonia and Tunisia, who claimed their first victories at Poland/Sweden 2023 in their opening matches at the President's Cup, will face off on Saturday. The winner of their clash will have a good chance to finish first in Group II.
The other encounter will be a North African derby as the geographic neighbours Algeria and Morocco, who have lost all their matches at the championship so far, will try to end their negative runs.
- 15:30 CET: Algeria vs Morocco
Algeria have suffered big defeats in their most recent matches of the current World Championship, as they lost by 16 goals (21:37) against Germany in their last group match and by 15 goals against North Macedonia (25:40) in an opening encounter of the President's Cup.
"North Macedonia were simply better than us, but now we have to forget about this match and focus on the next one," Algeria's left back Hichem Daoud said after the match on Wednesday.
Despite the obvious frustration, the Algerians hope to bounce back and improve in the remaining matches – in particular in a derby against their continental rivals from Morocco.
However, the Moroccans have set the same goals as they have also lost all four matches at Poland/Sweden 2023. The "Atlas Lions" opened the consolation tournament with another North African clash, but despite fighting hard against Tunisia for most of the match, they were ultimately defeated (25:30).
In the past, Algeria and Morocco faced off twice at the World Championship, notably at the group stage of the events held in Egypt. Those matches were extremely close, resulting in a 19:19 draw in 1999 and Algeria's 24:23 win in 2021. And their last meeting at the CAHB Men's African Championship dates back to 2020, when Algeria won 33:30, also in a group match.
- 18:00 CET: North Macedonia vs Tunisia
A long-awaited 40:25 win against Algeria gave North Macedonia a feeling of satisfaction. The team coached by Kiril Lazarov ended a three-match losing streak and claimed their biggest-ever victory at the World Championship.
"After three defeats at the group stage, we really needed to win. Every victory is important for the confidence and atmosphere in the team. The President's Cup is known as a consolation tournament, but every win at the World Championship makes us happy," said goalkeeper Nikola Mitrevski, who was elected hummel Player of the Match.
Now the inspired North Macedonians will face Tunisia, who also have two points in Group II after a five-goal win against Morocco. This match was tight, but Tunisia played well in defence and enjoyed a 5:0 run in the last 10 minutes which helped them to celebrate a victory.
"It was hard for us to pick ourselves up after not reaching the main round because we had expected more. The match against Morocco was difficult, but we took revenge for the loss at the African Championship, so it's a nice thing for us," Tunisia's goalkeeper Mehdi Harbaoui said.
In the previous meetings of the two sides, North Macedonia won twice at the World Championships: 33:25 at Qatar 2015 and 34:30 at France 2017. In turn, Tunisia had the upper hand at the 2009 World Championship (25:24) and the 2016 Olympic qualification (32:16).