North Macedonia celebrate top-10 finish with win over Hungary, Sweden will fight for the President's Cup

10 Aug. 2023

North Macedonia celebrate top-10 finish with win over Hungary, Sweden will fight for the President's Cup

North Macedonia delivered a big surprise against Hungary in the Placement Matches 9-12, as the European side secured their best-ever finish at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, confirming a place in the final top-10, with a 22:20 win. Sweden have a chance to make amends after missing out on the main round. After beating Iceland 41:36, they have a chance to win the President's Cup tomorrow. Republic of Korea won against United States of America (36:19) and will play for 25th place.
Placement Match 9-12

  • Hungary vs North Macedonia 20:22 (12:12)

Hungary were clearly left reeling after their elimination from the main round, with a last-gasp shot hitting the post in a pivotal moment for their fate in the competition. Still, Hungary had everything to play for in this match, as they clearly aimed to finish in the top 10, and that objective could have been sealed with a win against North Macedonia.
North Macedonia had previously secured their best-ever finish at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, therefore, they had nothing to lose, and this was there to be seen at the start of the game when Hungary’s attack was stopped in its tracks.
A 5:3 lead for North Macedonia was quickly turned around by Hungary, who stepped up their game, especially in defence, enabling a 6:1 run to bring a healthy 9:6 lead, despite Hungary’s top player, Kristóf Csörgo, featuring less than previewed in the game.
But a strong overall performance from goalkeeper Ivan Galevski, who saved six shots in the first half, helped North Macedonia get back into the game, tying the score at the break (12:12), with Hungary needing more in their attack to break through and secure their top-10 placement.
Facing a difficult proposition, Hungary used Csörgo more and more, alongside the other top back, Tamás Kovács, but the disappointment from the draw against Croatia looked too big to shrug off. In the first 18 minutes of the second half, Hungary only scored five goals, enabling North Macedonia to create a four-goal lead, 21:17.
In the short term, the time-out did not change anything, but Hungary slowly got back into the game, especially thanks to their defence, which conceded a single goal between the 46th and the 58th minute, in a true slugfest, where both attacks failed to get any rhythm going.
By the end, North Macedonia celebrated the win (22:20), taking full advantage of Hungary’s plethora of turnovers, 16 in total, and finished for the first time in their history in the top 10 at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship.
North Macedonia will now feature in the Placement Match 9/10 against Czechia on Friday, while Hungary are due to play against Saudi Arabia in the Placement Match 11/12 in their last match at Croatia 2023.
hummel Player of the Match: Ivan Galevski (North Macedonia)

Placement Match 17-20

  • Iceland vs Sweden 36:41 (21:20)

Despite trailing at half-time, Sweden were a better side after the break and won this hard-fought encounter. On Friday, they will meet Morocco in the President's Cup final, while Iceland are set to play Montenegro in the Placement Match 19/20. 

The first half saw a very tight battle, as no team could pull clear by more than two goals. Sweden enjoyed a 77% shot efficiency, and the two Iceland goalkeepers made just two saves combined for 30 minutes. At the same time, some Icelandic attacking players made a good individual effort: Reynir Thor Stefansson scored all his nine goals in the game before the break, and Eidur Rafn Valsson added six more.

Iceland were slightly better in the closing minutes of the first half, which helped them to take a 21:20 lead at half-time. But the break boosted Sweden, who improved their defence and took the game under their control.

Axel Mansson, who became the top scorer of the match with 10 goals, shone in their attack, helping the Swedes to pull clear at 30:25 by minute 43. Goalkeeper Arvid Skoog also rose to prominence, ending the match with 13 saves. 

In the last 10 minutes, Iceland attempted to hit back, and when they slashed the gap to 34:36 with five minutes left, a comeback did not look impossible. But the Swedes held their nerve to ultimately hit the 40-goal mark and win this exciting Nordic battle. 

hummel Player of the Match: Axel Mansson (Sweden)

Placement Matches 25-28

Republic of Korea vs United States of America 36:19 (23:8)

The United States of America needed help to keep up with the Republic of Korea, who got their hands on the second win at the IHF Men's Youth World Championship. Korea made a decisive 15-0 goal run early in the game and decided the winner.

The Republic of Korea left no space for the manoeuvre as they kept forcing the Americans to make mistakes. The USA kept it together for the first ten minutes as Maksim McCauley was the only one up to the task. What came next is hard to describe, but the Koreans connected 15 goals in a row and set 21:6. Myunggeun Cha and Dohyun Lee joined Mingi Son on the Asian side's top scorers list.

The United States of America kept pushing, but their attack couldn't break their opponent's defence. Consequently, they were goalless for the full 16 minutes before McCauley added another to set 21:7 a few minutes before the break.

In the second half, the USA performed much better, going from 36% attack efficiency to 47%. In ten minutes, they scored six times compared to Korea's two and gave a different taste to the game. However, the inexperienced Americans couldn't keep the same pace as Korea restored their +16 lead.

The same gap between the two sides remained until the final whistle as the Republic of Korea are looking towards the 25th place match against Georgia and the debutants USA will have to face Rwanda.

hummel Player of the Match: Dohyun Lee (Republic of Korea)

Photo: Croatia 2023/Kolektiff images