Japan with one foot in eighth-finals again

09 Aug. 2019

Japan with one foot in eighth-finals again

Japan won their second match in two days to put one foot in the eighth-finals of the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, another step towards a possible repeat of the nations’ eighth-place finish at the previous edition of the U19 global competition, held in Tbilisi, Georgia back in 2017.

Japan vs Argentina 29:26 (18:14)
Boris Trajkovski Arena, Skopje

The high of beating host nation North Macedonia in their opening game last Tuesday has swiftly evaporated for Argentina after their second loss in two days, this time against Asian youth silver medallists Japan.

Argentina lost yesterday against EURO youth bronze medallists Denmark and another loss today, against Japan, sees them stay on two points, fifth in the table and joint on points behind North Macedonia and Bahrain, who play later tonight.

At half-time Japan had a four-goal lead with Kosuke Yasuhira running the show from the centre (four goals) and Taiga Tsutaya from the right (five goals). 10 minutes earlier it had been all even, but Argentina were restricted to just five strikes in that final third of the opening half.

It was a similar story in the second with Argentina just two behind in the 50th minute (25:23), but a 4:0 run from Japan killed the game off, which was clearly evident when, aptly, Yasuhira sunk home to make the difference five (30:25) with 80 seconds left.

“We won, but I am not too satisfied,” said Japan coach Shinnosuke Uematsu after the match. “We are not in eighth-finals yet, so it’s not over.”

His opposite number was, understandably, disappointed to lose a game they had targeted as a win. “We played bad in defence in first half and we left too much space for the Japanese players,” said Argentina’s Fernando Capurro. “In the second half our defence was better, but we made too many technical errors and didn’t play through the line player as I wanted.”

Best Player of the Match: Kosuke Yasuhira (JPN)

Photo: WCH 2019 / Filip Viranovski