Bahrain and Tunisia improve main round chances, Japan and Morocco open account at Germany/Greece 2023
23 Jun. 2023
Tunisia edged closer to the main round of the 24th IHF Men's Junior World Championship after they sealed their second win in three games (31:22) against Libya, only needing now Germany not to lose against Algeria to confirm their place between the top 16 teams in the competition.
Bahrain extended their hopes for a place in the main round with one of the highest win in the history of the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, 63:13 against Greenland, and will now wait for Slovenia to feature against Sweden to see if they progress or not with the European side needing at least a draw to make it further.
African side Morocco opened their account at Germany/Greece 2023 with a win over Chile (24:18), while Japan delivered a masterstroke comeback against Angola to clinch a 33:32 win after they were down three goals at the break.
- Group B
Tunisia vs Libya 31:22 (13:11)
Tunisia got their hands on the second win at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship after a huge battle against their neighbours, Libya. The third team from the 2022 African Men's Junior Handball Championship had high hopes of reaching the top 10, and they are one step closer to the goal. If Germany beat Algeria, Tunisia are through to the Main Round and having won over Algeria in round one gives them a slight advantage even in a different scenario.
Libya was struggling in the attack in the game's opening minutes, giving Tunisia the option to gain a 5:0 lead. Mid-first half, Ibrahim Muamer scored a few straight goals tying the game (8:8). Tunisian defence shifted to 5-1 and 4-2, giving them more power to make a break.
The lack of experience was the main issue for Libya in the second part of the game, especially defensive-wise. It was not the game of handball in all its glory, but Tunisia got the job done when Anis Ben Salem netted for a six-goal lead 15 minutes before the buzzer.
Despite Libya's fighting spirit, they could not make yet another shift in the momentum, being goalless for ten straight minutes. Consequently, their shot efficiency dropped to 48% while their opponents were at 71%. Tunisian goalkeepers Jemaa Mohamed Aziz and Limem Dit Liouane Moutiaa had a good performance between the posts, closing the day with nine and six saves, respectively, at 45% and 40% saving efficiency.
hummel Player of the Match: Anis Ben Salem (Tunisia)
- Group D
Japan vs Angola 33:32 (14:17)
For 30 minutes, Angola looked in total control of the match against Japan, an important one after the two games lost any chance to progress to the main round, with the winner taking the two points into the President's Cup.
While the first part of the game was very well-balanced, Angola looked better, as their physical style of play did not suit Japan, while the Asian side also missed two crucial penalties, enabling the African side to take a three-goal lead at the break.
Yet after the break, Japan came back more motivated, and clearly better in defence, preventing Angola from scoring more than four goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half. With a 12:4 run to start the second half, Japan went four goals ahead, 26:21, as Angola duly found no answer.
It was once again thanks to back Naoki Fujisaka, who scored eight goals, to jump on the first place of the top goal scorer standings, with a 26-goal tally, with the centre back being integral to Japan's success, boasting an impressive handball IQ, as well as a powerful shot.
It went from bad to worse for Angola, who will now start the President's Cup with zero points, while Japan take the two points into the next phase after their impressive 33:32 win, which was somewhat threatened in the last seconds by a man-to-man defence by Angola, yet the Asian side still held on to take the two points.
hummel Player of the Match: Naoki Fujisaka (Japan)
- Group F
Bahrain vs Greenland 63:13 (33:5)
After their shocking draw against Slovenia on Thursday (29:29), Bahrain were primed to fight for a main round berth, but the path through that was full of twists and turns. First, they needed a big win against Greenland, as they started the last round with a -18-goal difference, with Slovenia boasting a +25 goal difference.
Then, Bahrain needed Slovenia to lose in the last game against Sweden, but the Asian side focused first on what they needed to do, enabling themselves to be in a position to hope for a main round berth.
Indeed, they really took up the challenge and went full gas from the start of the game to the finish, with the best-ever performance in attack for a single team in the history of the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, with 33 goals scored in the first 30 minutes.
Yet Bahrain still needed more goals, and they kept up their end of the bargain, constantly pushing until the end, as the gap ballooned. Jasim Khamis scored 15 times, while Mohamed Rabia added nine goals, with the latter becoming the top goal scorer at Germany/Greece 2023 so far, with a 23-goal tally in three matches.
This ended up as the game with the highest number of goals scored by a single team at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship and the game with the biggest difference between the two sides in the competition's history since 1999, when New Zealand lost by 74 goals against Qatar, 64 goals against Yugoslavia and Egypt and 56 goals against Norway.
With a 63:13 win over Greenland, Bahrain will now wait to see how Slovenia cope with Sweden; a Swedish win would see the European side advance to the next round. The Asian side now boasts a +32-goal difference, with Slovenia starting the game against Sweden at +25, therefore handing Bahrain the advantage if the two teams are tied on points.
On the other hand, Greenland have the worst defence at Germany/Greece 2023, conceding at least 48 goals in every game so far and having an average of 53.6 conceded goals per match, heading to the President's Cup with no points.
hummel Player of the Match: Jasim Khamis (Bahrain)
- Group G
Chile vs Morocco 18:24 (9:13)
After two straight defeats in their previous matches, Morocco claimed their maiden win at Germany/Greece 2023. This is actually their only fourth victory in the IHF Men's Junior World Championship history.
The African team will start the President's Cup with two points, while Chile, who lost all three encounters in Group G, will begin the consolation tournament with zero points.
Like in the previous games, Morocco's shot efficiency again left much to be desired, but their 51% were slightly better than Chile's 49%. And goalkeeper Youssef El Mouaddar played an important role in his team's win, as he stopped 14 balls for a 44% saving efficiency.
The South Americans enjoyed a better start to the game, opening a 3:1 lead by the fifth minute. However, they had to wait for their next goal for nearly 15 minutes. Propelled by El Mouaddar's string of saves, Morocco enjoyed an impressive 10:0 run, which was basically crucial for their victory.
Chile tried to fight back and partly succeeded, slashing the gap to four goals at half-time and trying to put pressure on their rivals after the restart. Luciano Scaramelli became the top scorer of the match with seven goals, but his team failed to make a comeback, as Morocco maintained their advantage throughout the second half.
hummel Player of the Match: Luciano Scaramelli (Chile)