13 Oct. 2019
All eyes were on court three at the Al Gharafa Beach Handball Arena this morning as the last 12 of the 60 preliminary group stage matches of the men’s and women’s beach handball competition at the ANOC World Beach Games – Qatar 2019 took place on the third day of competition.
In the women’s competition, one space was still open for the quarter-finals with the winners of Poland vs China going into the last eight and losers going out. In the end, Poland grabbed the knockout spot.
Group A: Brazil flawless, United States of America pick up first win
Brazil continued their perfect march through the competition in preliminary group A at Qatar 2019 thanks to another 2-0 win, this time against the European champions Denmark. The result meant that Brazil have not lost a period in the preliminary round, winning all five games 2-0.
While that is impressive, the Argentina come-from-behind victory against the strong Hungarians is further evidence that there is a new elite side in the women’s senior game as the South Americans once again proved their quality.
The first period took some time for Argentina to get into, but by then, the were already 11:6 behind and Hungary ensured they had the advantage going into the break. However, Argentina, scored six unanswered points to make it 12:10 late on in the second period and push through to a shoot-out. In the shoot-out, they converted all five shots, while Hungary could only sink home three, and the Argentinians confirmed their second spot in the group.
For fifth and sixth place in the group it was a duel between USA and Tunisia, both of whom had yet to get off of the mark at Qatar 2019 with the North American side easily winning 42:23 overall, 2-0.
Group B: Under-pressure Poland through, clash of past and present world champions
After finishing sixth at the 2018 IHF Women’s Beach Handball World Championships it was perhaps unexpected to see Poland fighting for their lives to stay in contention for not only a medal at Qatar 2019, but a top-eight finish and that was the case in the early (0900hrs) game this morning.
For the Asian champions China, the game did not go the way as planned. With the score all equal at 20:20 right at the end of the first period, Poland took the lead after hitting the post and picking up the rebound to make it 22:20.
China coach Shang Xi took a time out with 27 seconds left but their first attack following the pause failed and by the time the Chinese players realised the clock was still ticking after they had paused to reset, the opening period had just six seconds left.
However, Xianji Wei failed to set up her teammate properly and the ball was cut out on the line by the Polish defence. The referees then whistled for a foul and from the resulting free throw, China’s Ping Shen ensured goalkeeper Natalia Filonczuk was made to work as the Chinese specialist, standing at 1,82m got her shot around the Polish wall.
The second period was easier for Poland, despite China winning the ball at the start, and they ran out 21:13 winners to finish in fourth.
So the Asian champions go out, but the continental runners-up go through – impressively. Vietnam sealed third place with their third win, defeating Australia 2-0 who will not be happy with scoring just nine points in a second period where they were overrun by 17 points.
Perhaps it was familiarity as both these teams had been in training camp with each other before Qatar 2019, but Australia finished bottom, losing all five games failing to win a period.
The only other positions to decide we the top two and it was a clash between the current world champions Greece and 2016 winners Spain. Both periods were won in normal time with a strike from Greece at the end of the first period to confirm no way back for Spain as Evgenia Diakogianni scored a solitary point to put her side 17:14 up in the dying seconds to ensure no Spanish comeback, while Andrea Galvon Pavon scored a two-pointer to bring her side back from the death to take the second 13:12.
The subsequent shoot-out saw Spain miss and then Eleni Mournou strike to make it 4:2 to the Greeks and Vasiliki Skara ensured the victory with a single point goal at the end to confirm top spot in the group with five wins from five games.
Women’s Competition: Sunday 13 October 2019
Group A: Brazil (BRA), Denmark (DEN), Hungary (HUN), Argentina (ARG), United States of America (USA), Tunisia (TUN)
Group B: Greece (GRE), Spain (ESP), Poland (POL), China (CHN), Australia (AUS), Vietnam (VIE)
BRA vs DEN 2-0 (13:12, 15:10)
HUN vs ARG 1-2 (14:11, 14:16, SO 6:9)
USA vs TUN 2-0 (24:11, 18:12)
GRE vs ESP 2-1 (17:14, 12:13, SO 7:6)
AUS vs VIE 0-2 (16:17, 9:26)
POL vs CHN 2-0 (22:20, 21:13)