03 Aug. 2022
The first day of the main round at the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship can already deliver the first quarter-finalists, provided that the teams that start with two points after the preliminary round will win their matches.
Denmark are definitely the favourites to proceed, as they meet Croatia in Group II, while Iceland can make a huge step towards the quarter-finals at their maiden tournament if they beat the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The President’s Cup also throws off with two groups, as Montenegro and the Faroe Islands aim to win their groups for a better finish in the tournament.
Main round Group I
- Iceland vs Islamic Republic of Iran (18:30 CEST, Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, Skopje)
- North Macedonia vs Sweden (20:30 CEST, Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, Skopje)
Both Iceland and Islamic Republic of Iran are debutants who managed to reach the main round. Their performance at North Macedonia 2022 can already be called successful, but appetite comes with eating, and now both teams are looking for more. Iceland, who topped Group A and took two points to the next stage, will be favoured against their Asian rivals, who have no points after suffering their maiden loss at the World Championship, 19:31 against North Macedonia.
In turn, this result helped the championship hosts to finish top of Group B and take two points to the main round. North Macedonia's next rival will be Sweden, who opened their campaign with a disappointing loss against Iceland, but then defeated Algeria and Montenegro to squeeze to the main round. However, the Nordic team will start the next stage with no points in hand.
Main round Group II
- Denmark vs Croatia (18:30 CEST, Jane Sandanski Sports Centre, Skopje)
- Egypt vs Portugal (20:30 CEST, Jane Sandanski Sports Centre, Skopje)
The maths are easy in this group: if Denmark and Egypt both win, then they are through to the quarter-finals, with Croatia and Portugal heading for the Placement Matches. It is a good position to be in for the top sides in the group, who are eyeing to extend their winning streak to four games at North Macedonia 2022.
The African side would be the first ever from the continent to secure a place in the quarter-finals at the IHF Women’s Youth World Championship and they are putting up impressive numbers, especially in attack. Only a single side, Croatia (116 scored goals) had a better record than Egypt (114) in the preliminary round, an impressive feature for a side that finished 23rd in the previous edition of the competition.
On the other hand, Denmark have the fourth-lowest number of goals conceded in the competition, 62, nine more than Iceland, who are topping the charts but will definitely be favoured against Croatia, who have been hit-and-miss at North Macedonia 2022, conceding a painful loss against Egypt, 31:33, which will haunt them for the rest of the tournament.
President's Cup Group I
- Montenegro vs Uzbekistan (14:30 CEST, Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, Skopje)
- Senegal vs Algeria (16:30 CEST, Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, Skopje)
Both Montenegro and Uzbekistan can feel frustrated after their Tuesday matches. The Balkan team lost against Sweden and missed a chance to reach the main round, while Uzbekistan had a realistic opportunity to earn their first win at the tournament, but came up short against Senegal. Now Montenegro, who are the only European team in the President's Cup Group I, will be the favourites, but Uzbekistan also hope to fight hard.
The second match in this group will be an African derby between the two World Championship debutants, Senegal and Algeria. Senegal wrote history by taking their maiden win at this level, against Uzbekistan, which helped them to finish third in Group B. In turn, Algeria lost all three games in Group A, but they hope to end that unlucky run in the President's Cup.
President's Cup Group II
- Faroe Islands vs India (14:30 CEST, Jane Sandanski Sports Centre, Skopje)
- Kazakhstan vs Austria (16:30 CEST, Jane Sandanski Sports Centre, Skopje)
Four years ago, Austria have started the IHF Women’s Youth World Championship with a three-game losing streak, but improved in the latter part of the tournament, finishing in 15th place. Their work will be cut out to avoid finishing in the bottom 10 sides in the competition, yet they are favoured against Kazakhstan. The Asian side enters the group with two points, courtesy of their win against India, 10:0, at the start of the tournament, but were at the receiving end of two consecutive losses, against Egypt and Croatia.
The Faroe Islands just wrote history by winning 33:21 against Austria in their last match in the preliminary round and eye their second win in a row, against India. Provided they secure two wins in the next two games, they will win the group and earn a chance to play for the President’s Cup. Of the sides relegated to this part of the competition, only Montenegro (62 goals) and the Czech Republic (74 goals) conceded less than the Faroe Islands, but India have the third best average of goals scored per game, 35, as two totally different handball styles will clash on Wednesday.