Final day of action in group C promises much

12 Aug. 2019

Final day of action in group C promises much

After four matches, the final round of games in preliminary group B at the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship in North Macedonia gets underway at 16:30 (local time) today with the clash between Argentina and Nigeria. This is followed by Denmark vs Bahrain and the host nation North Macedonia facing the team on a hot streak – Japan.

All qualification places in the group are already decided with the match significance today relating to the all-important ranking.

Feature game: Argentina vs Nigeria
Boris Trajkovski Arena, 16:30 local time

After the emotional and physical toll of their decisive 25:24 win over Bahrain yesterday to ensure their path through to the eighth-finals at the expense of their rivals, Argentina face a Nigeria side with nothing to lose in the opening day of the final preliminary group games.

The Nigeria U21 generation finished two places above Argentina in the final rankings of the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship last month, and today represents the best – and final – chance for the African bronze medallists to get a point or two from the preliminary round in their first-ever performance 

The statistics lie in Argentina’s favour so far in North Macedonia and they could be inspired by that important victory in their last match.

Going into the game, Nigeria have key player Faruk Yusuf in top form – the youngest player at the championship (15 years old) was third in the top-scorer charts on 31 goals in four matches, two behind Martin Serafimov of the host nation, and the left-hander is a real asset for his side, being fed passes by captain Ibrahim Dikko and his teammates.

They will have to be at their best to get past the impressive Argentina shot-stopper Juan Ignacio Villarreal in goal, who has an overall 37% save rate, stopping 38 shots so far.

Argentina will be full of confidence having beaten Bahrain after the final buzzer had sounded with a nine-metre free throw, dumping the Asian side out and ensuring the South Americans qualified through.

 “We knew about the situation in the group and Bahrain were just above us and we knew we had to win this match,” said Argentina captain Agustin Ariel Iglesias to after that amazing victory against Bahrain.

“We know how to handle the pressure and I enjoy it. Despite the pressure. which can complicate things, we play good with pressure, like we did against North Macedonia.

“We enjoy a lot playing with the teams from all over the world,” continued Iglesias. “Africa plays in one way, Asia play in another way and Europe plays in another different way.

“It is good for us to have these matches that we are not used to. We know Nigeria and they are a very fast team with some tall players.”

Japan want a win within a win, Danes look to 100%
Buoyed by their third victory in a row, Japan will be looking to get a fourth, against host nation North Macedonia in the evening match which has extra significance for the side who have beaten Bahrain, Argentina and Nigeria already. “We want to beat the European teams,” said Japan’s Kosuke Yasuhira. “It’s a big thing for Japan to beat the European teams.”

The final match of the day is Denmark against Bahrain with the Danes looking to make it five wins out of five to take a perfect record into the eighth-finals.

Monday 12 August 2019
Boris Trajkovski Arena, Skopje

16:30    ARG vs NGR
18:30    DEN vs BRN
20:30    MKD vs JPN