Denmark seal first place in Group III with crucial win over Germany

11 Dec. 2023

Denmark seal first place in Group III with crucial win over Germany

The main round of the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship concluded in the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning with a hugely important win for Denmark, 30:28, against Germany, which helped the co-hosts seal the first place in Group III.

Denmark will now face Montenegro in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Germany face a difficult challenge against Sweden, as the world handball flagship competition reaches its business end.

Main Round
Group III
Germany vs Denmark 28:30 (13:15)

There was no room for mistake for Germany, as they could have still lost the first place in the group, provided they lost against Denmark, in spite of their flawless performance so far at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, with five wins in five matches.

Once again, nearly 10,000 fans packed the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning and they were thirsty for another win from their favourites, which would have seen them face the second-placed team from Group I in the quarter-finals, an advantage which could have proven decisive at the end of the competition.

Yet Denmark started slow once again, with Germany proving too strong in the start of the match. However, the defence held for the co-hosts, which was key in them sealing a 15:13 lead at the first of the first half, with a couple of pivotal moments going into Jesper Jensen’s side’s way.

Crucial were two penalties missed by Alina Grijseels and Mareike Thomeier, as Althea Reinhardt saved both, basically half of her whole amount of saves in the first half, with Denmark finally opening a two-goal gap in the 22nd minute, when centre back Anne Mette Hansen scored her fifth goal of the match.

Hansen and left wing Emma Friis combined for nine goals in the first half and they carried their superb form in the second half, when a 6:2 run spurred by Friis and Kristina Jorgensen helped Denmark open their first five-goal lead, 22:17, with the game looking as good as gone for Germany, thanks to an outstanding defence from the Scandinavian side.

Nursing a calf injury, Alina Grijseels was ushered into the match by coach Markus Gaugisch and she managed to instil some life into Germany, helping cut the gap to only three goals, 24:21, while Denmark did not breathe fire as usual in the goalkeeping department, where Sandra Toft and Althea Reinhardt combined only for eight saves in the match, for a meagre 23% saving efficiency.

However, after Emily Bölk got her third two-minute suspension, and subsequently a red card, Germany looked to be in dire straits, especially as the left back had previously scored five goals. But Markus Gaugisch’s side somehow found new life, cut the gap to only goal, 23:24, and had the chance to tie the score, only for wing Antje Döll miss a one-on-one fast break with Toft.

That miss proved to be the pivotal moment of the match, as Denmark brushed up their defence, preventing Germany to score for five minutes and 18 seconds, thus creating a decisive 3:0 unanswered run, which propelled the co-hosts to a 27:23 lead with four minutes and 30 seconds left.

A late-gasp Germany comeback failed to materialise, as not even switching their defence from 6-0 to 5-1 helped Markus Gaugisch’s side to bounce back, with the only objective achieved by Germany being to cut the gap to two goals, 30:28.

With their fifth win in six matches, Denmark secured the first place in the final standings of Group III in the main round, being tied with Germany on points, but with the advantage of the head-to-head result, in front of the big crowd in the Jyske Bank Boxen.

Denmark will now face Montenegro in the quarter-finals, while Germany are due to face another co-host, Sweden, in their try to reach the semi-finals for the first time since France 2007, when they secured the bronze medal.

hummel Player of the Match: Anne Mette Hansen (Denmark)