08 Aug. 2019
The second round of matches in Preliminary Group C of the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship starts with a rematch of the 2018 AHF Men’s Asian Youth Championship final, with Bahrain and Japan going head-to-head.
This is followed by Argentina taking on Denmark and the host nation, North Macedonia, looking to get their first victory in the championship, against Nigeria.
Feature match: Japan vs Bahrain
Boris Trajkovski Arena, Skopje – 16:30 local time
Asian continental rivalry comes to North Macedonia when the 2018 AHF Men’s Asian Youth Championship winners Bahrain play runners-up Japan in the first match of the second round of games in Group C of the 2019 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship.
Last September in Amman, Jordan, Bahrain won the continental title after beating Japan 34:31 in the final in a repeat of the 2016 edition, which Bahrain also won. Bahrain had led 17:16 at the break in a tight first half but did enough in the second period to overcome their rivals, who they had also beaten earlier in the competition, in the main round 27:23 (8:14).
At North Macedonia 2019 there were mixed fortunes on the opening day for both teams who played nations with polar opposite histories at this level. Bahrain easily overcame Nigeria, debuting at this level, 36:28, while Japan played the historic top nation in a youth world championship, Denmark, and lost 30:23.
Japan’s head coach Shinnosuke Uematsu will expect more from his side after he admitted they had not played well for 60 minutes against the Danes. “We played bad in defence in the first half and were way behind,” he said. “In the second half our defence was better, and we showed a better game but, unfortunately, it was not enough for a better result.”
His opposite number for Bahrain, Halldor Johann Sigfusson, was disappointed, but realistic, with his opening day victory. “It’s good when you win a match, but I am not satisfied with the performance as we conceded 28 goals and that’s too much,” he said. “But the first match of the tournament is always difficult.”
Both teams will be hoping that their second match of the tournament proves to not be too hard for them later today.
More motivation for South Americans against historic best?
After beating host nation North Macedonia in their opening match, next up for Argentina is a clash against, historically, the best nation at this global level, Denmark, who have won three previous editions of the event.
“We know all about Denmark’s history, and that they were third in the EURO last year,” said Argentina captain Ariel Agustin Iglesias to IHF.info. “We know they are a really good team, but I think after the North Macedonia victory we are more relaxed. That performance will be good for us going into the match - if we play our handball we can make a really good match.”
Denmark opened with a comfortable win against Japan with their player, Simon Pytlick at ease in a familiar, new, team.
“We have eight new players and are just looking forward to playing the games here and hope we get number one [in the group], that is our goal,” said the Denmark captain after that Japan victory. “We have a lot of respect for Japan, but we would like to have played a European team first – they were playing very fast and are small, so it was quite difficult for us because we are tall and big guys and had to move very fast and were on the press.”
Pytlick, the son of the successful Denmark senior women’s coach Jan, is feeling at home in the updated Danish team, not least because he has six club teammates from club side GOG. “It feels like a club,” he said about the national team having so many players from his side. “But it’s nice to play with other guys, but it can also be difficult.”
The last match of the day sees North Macedonia take on Nigeria with both teams looking to get their first points of the championship.
Thursday 9 August
All times local
Boris Trajkovski Arena, Skopje
16:30 JPN vs BRN
18:30 ARG vs DEN
20:30 NGR vs MKD
Photo: WCH 2019 / Filip Viranovski