The last chance for a medal for Sweden at Poland/Sweden 2023

28 Jan. 2023

The last chance for a medal for Sweden at Poland/Sweden 2023

Co-hosts Sweden will enter the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm highly motivated to deliver an excellent performance, with a medal at stake when they face Spain in the bronze medal match on Sunday.

The two sides have already met in a bronze medal match at the IHF Men’s World Championship in 2011, when the competition was also hosted by Sweden, with “Los Hispanos” taking a 24:23 nail-biting win.

18:00 CET Spain vs Sweden

Sweden have a perfect distribution of the 12 medals they have won at the IHF Men’s World Championship with four gold, silver and bronze medals each. Still, they will be hoping to break the status quo and add a 13th medal to their treasure chest when they meet Spain in the bronze medal match at Poland/Sweden 2023 in front of a packed Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.

The Scandinavian side has broken the attendance record for a men’s senior team match twice in the past four days. Still, their seven-match winning streak in the championship was snapped on Friday as France delivered a heavy blow in the form of a 31:26 in the second semi-final of the event.

Now, Sweden will hope to secure the bronze medal in a crunch match against Spain, with their record in such situations being three wins and two losses, including a 23:24 loss against “Los Hispanos” at Sweden 2011, in similar circumstances to the one Glenn Solberg’s side is facing now.

“Of course we are disappointed. We had a dream when we entered the hall today - that we would play a final on Sunday. But we are proud to play in the bronze medal match and we will do everything in our power to clinch a medal,” said Solberg after the 26:31 loss against France on Friday.

Sweden will definitely lament the loss of their most influential player, centre back Jim Gottfridsson, who broke the metacarpal bone in the quarter-final against Egypt and underwent surgery on Friday, putting him out of contention for the final weekend in Stockholm.

His absence was there to be seen in the match against France. Still, Sweden remain one of the top teams in the competition, the third-best attack at Poland/Sweden 2023 and the team with the safest pair of hands between the posts, as Tobias Thulin (44% saving efficiency) and Andreas Palicka (40%) are two of the top three shot-stoppers in the championship.

On the other hand, Spain have two losses in the event, against France in the main round and against Denmark in the semi-finals, both close battles, as “Los Hispanos” try to deliver the best performances with several new players ushered in the squad for this championship.

So far, they have won two bronze medal matches, including the one against France at Egypt 2021, and lost three, with the match against Sweden being the rematch of the EHF EURO 2022 final, where the Scandinavian side clinched the gold medal with a one-goal win (27:26).

“Now it is clear we have a time of mourning, but we must try to recover because we have the third and fourth place ahead of us. You have to think that only 4 teams out of 32 have arrived here, including us, who tirelessly continue to be in the semi-finals and continue to fight for winning a medal,” said Spain’s coach Jordi Ribera after the loss against Denmark in Gdansk.

If Sweden win the match, it will be their 130th win in the history at the IHF Men’s World Championship, the largest-ever number in the competition, while also keeping their spot at the top in the number of medals won in the competition, with the Scandinavian side tied with France now at 12 medals.