05 Aug. 2019
Group A at the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship will open with a bang on Tuesday August 6, as Croatia start the quest to claim their nation’s third medal this summer against Norway. The second round one match for the group based in the iconic Jane Sandanski Arena will see Spain meeting Saudi Arabia, before Slovenia close the day against Chile.
Feature match: Croatia vs Norway
Jane Sandanski Arena, 10:30 local time
Croatia have already celebrated two medals at men’s youth age category events this summer – gold at the European Youth Olympic Festival and silver at the 2019 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship. On Tuesday, the U19 side will start a journey they hope will also finish with a medal.
This Croatia generation have already made it to the semi-finals at one major international event – the U18 EHF EURO 2018. At the European championship last summer, they could not finish their quest with a medal, but ranked fourth. Nevertheless, a fourth place in Europe promises potential at the Youth World Championship.
Norway ranked 11th at that same U18 EURO, indicating that Croatia are the stronger side of the two and are more likely to open their North Macedonia 2019 campaign with a victory.
Norway will face a challenge against Croatia’s defence, which is led by the All-star Team best defender at the U18 EHF EURO 2018, Gianfranco Pribetic. Croatia’s top scorer at the U18 EURO was Fran Mileta, who also played the Junior World Championship in Spain – and was awarded All-star right wing. For Norway, the stand-out in attack is expected to be their top scorer at the EURO last summer: Tobias Gröndahl.
Intercontinental clashes wrap up round one
After Croatia and Norway open Group A, Saudi Arabia will take on Spain in a game expected to be quite a challenge for the developing Asian team. Spain placed right behind Croatia in fifth at the U18 EURO, while Saudi Arabia arrive in Skopje as the fourth-ranked team at the Asian championship. The second clash of the day will throw off at 12:30 local time.
At 14:30 local time, Slovenia will meet Chile in the last round one match for the group. Slovenia finished ninth at the EURO in 2018, but with a changed team since then, they may be capable of more at North Macedonia 2019. Chile placed third at the South and Central America Qualification.