Eight European sides seek second straight win on the third day
21 Jun. 2023
Things are heating up as 16 teams will enter the courts in Germany and Greece on the third day of the IHF Men's Junior World Championship. Eight European sides, Poland, Croatia, Faroe Islands, Spain, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark and Hungary, are eyeing the second straight win in the competition, which would open the doors of the main round.
- 17:15 CEST (18:15 EEST) Poland vs Croatia
It will be an interesting clash of Group A as two top teams face each other. Not only a year ago, Poland and Croatia also met in a placement match at the M20 EHF EURO 2022, leaving the Croats disappointed after losing in the shootout and finishing 15th.
Andrija Nikolić's players hope this time will be a different story as they are boosted in confidence after a narrow defeat over their long-time rivals, France. If Poland want to extend their winning streak, they need to stop Croatia's fastbreak and left wing Ivan Barbić, who scored eight out of eight in the first game.
On the other hand, the Polish side had a much easier start to Germany/Greece 2023, winning against the United States of America 47:22. Head coach Zugmunt Kamys had the advantage of trying out every player in the squad as they scored at least once in the game.
- 19:30 CEST (20:30 EEST) United States of America vs France
One team will get their hands on the first victory in the competition, with France being the favourite one. France are always under the spotlight at competitions, from senior to youth categories, and this time around is no different. However, Johann Delattre's team made too many technical errors in the crucial part of the game against Croatia and subsequently lost 26:27.
Against the United States of America, France need to repeat a strong defence with Léo Villain between the posts and have an easier ball flow ahead of, what could be, a crucial match against Poland if they wish to keep main round hopes alive.
The USA are still gaining valuable experience in a major competition, and being defeated by Poland 22:47 is just one part of the road ahead. Having players mostly from different European clubs, just like centre back Benjamin Edwards, give the USA a good starting point. They will need to improve their shots from the wing as the efficiency in the first game was below 29 per cent.
- 11:00 CEST (12:00 EEST) Faroe Islands vs Japan
The great story of the Faroe Islands and handball goes on at Germany/Greece 2023 also. The team with centre back Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu and Hákun West Av Teigum proved already at the M20 EHF EURO 2022 they will be a hard nut to crack, and they dream of repeating the same at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship.
At the start of the competition, Faroe Islands beat Angola without a sweat 34:21, and Skipagøtu was the leader having an 8-goal outing without a miss. The strength of the team can also be the goalkeeper duo, especially Pauli Jacobsen after his 59 per cent saving efficiency in the first game.
Japan walked in different shoes, being drawn with Spain in the first round of the group. The 2022 Asian Men's Junior Handball Championship winners were hoping for a different start. However, their fast-paced style can cause problems for every team, and it will be interesting to see the clash of two different styles. If Faroe Islands want to win their second straight game at the IHF Men's Junior Handball Championship with ease, they need to find a solution for Naoki Fujisaka, Japan's best player.
- 13:15 CEST (14:15 EEST) Angola vs Spain
Spain are one of the main favourites at the IHF Men's Junior Handball Championship, coming as the current champions of the M20 EHF EURO 2022. Strong Spaniards have a somewhat easier start to the competition, having two less experienced teams for the opponent - Japan and Angola.
Spain maintained the same level throughout against Japan, beating them 43:28. Marti Soler Biescas' nine goals proved the excellence of Spanish wing players, something that is a Spanish signature for decades.
Angola never won a game against a European or Asian side, and Germany/Greece 2023 so far is no different. The lack of depth and strength was visible in the game against the Faroe Islands, notably in a 9-metre shot efficiency that was at 33 per cent. They will have an even tougher time against Spain, who seek to confirm the first spot in the group.
- 14:15 CEST (15:15 EEST) Norway vs Hungary
In the most European group at Germany/Greece 2023, in the second duel, Norway will try to redeem themselves after a tough 22:33 defeat against Denmark. The Norwegian side got lucky as they secured a spot at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship as a substitute nation for Australia.
The Nordic side could not cope with a much stronger neighbouring country, not being able to convert any fastbreak in the whole game. And they hope to improve their performance against Hungary.
"Hungary is a very good team. Most of their players play Champions League, but we will do our best to show what we can," said Norway's head coach Žarko Pejović for handball.org.gr.
Hungary, on the other hand, has high hopes for this World Championship, especially after finishing fifth at the M20 EHF EURO 2022 and with players already playing at high level. In the first game against Argentina, they struggled in the first half but managed to secure a 30:22 win after a good second-half opening by the goalkeeper Kristóf Palasics.
"It is always difficult to play against Scandinavian players because they are strong with a specific style. Nevertheless, we will do all we can to win," added Hungarian goalkeeper Palasics at handball.org.gr.
19:00 CEST (28:00 EEST) Denmark vs Argentina
The Scandinavian side have good experience playing against European teams, which comes in handy in Group E. However, the only non-European side awaits after a somewhat easy win over Norway (33:22).
Argentina suffered a 22:30 defeat by Hungary, but if they repeat the pace from the first half when they were trailing only by one, Denmark should not have it easy. M20 EHF EURO 2022 All-star member Thomas Arnoldsen is the starting point of the Danish side, and it will be thrilling to see how Argentina will deal with the style of play.
Argentina will try to make a surprise and do anything to get to first points in the competition, especially as in the 2019 edition, they ended the group phase without any points.
"In the next game we will meet a strong opponent, we should not underestimate Argentina, and we are looking forward to playing with them," said Mikkel Moller Lokvist, Danish goalkeeper for handball.org.gr.
- 10:00 CEST (11:00 EEST) Slovenia vs Bahrain
Slovenia are hard to predict, and at the start of the competition, they met with Greenland, beating them 48:23. With all 14 field players scoring at least once, head coach Saša Prapotnik was able to test his team and rest the key players ahead of the duel with Bahrain.
One thing is sure, Slovenia will give their best to win all games in the group in order to get to the main round and, maybe even further, try to beat the 2019 placement when they finished sixth.
The runners-up of the 2022 Asian Junior Championship are heading into their third World Championship, and while their goal is the main round, it will be a difficult task, especially after losing to Sweden by 17:35 and taking another European side.
"We suffered a few injuries in the first game, and we had to change of play. Against Slovenia, we will try our best, and we will definitely try to beat Greenland at the end of the group. We are clearly building the future, but I think we have to do better,"" said Bahrain's head coach Abdula Esam for handball.org.gr.
- 14:45 CEST (15:45 EEST) Greenland vs Sweden
Sweden want to get to their second straight win at Germany/Greece 2023 after defeating Bahrain 35:17 on the first day of the competition. The Scandinavian side hope this generation will bring the country back to the top, and their fourth place at the M20 EHF EURO 2022 is a good sign.
The right side proved to be the most efficient one in the first game; two right wings and right back netted 15 goals together, almost half of the team's goals.
Greenland, who took over the Scandinavian style of play, will give all their efforts to make Sweden fight hard for two important points. Contrary to Sweden, Greenland's main force were left wing Maligiaq Villads Lynge Rosing and left back Malik J. Jorn-Peter Larsen Rosing.
The duo scored 11 goals against Slovenia, and despite a few misses, they stood out in a 23:48 defeat.