Scandinavian joy, as Denmark and Sweden progress to main round

22 Jun. 2023

Scandinavian joy, as Denmark and Sweden progress to main round

Two Scandinavian sides, Denmark and Sweden, were the next ones to secure main round berths at the 24th IHF Men’s Junior World Championship after clinching their second win in as many games in Athens.

While Sweden registered a huge win over Greenland (50:12), the highest so far in the competition, Denmark had work to do against Argentina, as they were forced to sweat in the first half on their way to a 31:28 win.

  • Group E

Denmark vs Argentina 31:28 (16:12)

For 30 minutes, Argentina dreamt that they could derail Denmark’s campaign at Germany/Greece 2023, as the South American side proved to be a tough nut to crack, especially in defence, with the gap hovering around the two or three-goals mark in the first half.

But in the end, Argentina could simply not contain Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen, the rising star of the Denmark national team, who was once again virtually flawless for his side, becoming the top scorer of the game, with nine goals, on his way to the hummel Player of the Match award.

The centre back led a 7:3 run to start the second half for the Scandinavian side, which proved to be unassailable, with goalkeeper Mikkel Moller Lovkvist adding save after save to his tally after successfully leading his side to a win against Norway two days ago.

In fact, Moller Lovkvist saved 13 shots for a 35% saving efficiency, jumping to the second place in the number of total saves made at Germany/Greece 2023, only two saves shy of the leader, Greece’s Dimitrios Bampatzanidis, who stopped 28 shots.

Switching from a 6-0 defence to a 5-1 and even a 4-2 aggressive one suited Argentina, which cut the gap to four goals with eight minutes left in the match (28:24), but Denmark navigated through the tough times expertly and secured their second win in the competition (31:28).

With two wins in two matches, Denmark made it to the main round, confirming their status as one of the teams to beat at Germany/Greece 2023. Their win also helped Hungary to secure a place in the next phase of the competition, with Argentina and Norway now eliminated and heading to the President’s Cup.

On Friday, Denmark face Hungary in a crunch clash, with the winners taking two points into the main round, earning a head start for the battle for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

hummel Player of the Match: Thomas Sommer Arnoldsen (Denmark)

  • Group F

Greenland vs Sweden 12:50 (6:24)

After beating Bahrain 35:17 on the opening day, Sweden were even more dominant against Greenland and cruised to a commanding 38-goal victory. With the maximum of four points after two games, the Scandinavians are already certain of progressing to the main round, while Greenland will proceed to the President’s Cup. 

Sweden were a clearly superior side throughout 60 minutes, so no wonder that their final advantage was so big. They became the second team at the tournament to hit the 50-goal mark in a single game after Portugal beat Costa Rica 52:21 the day before. 

15 Swedish players, including goalkeeper Oscar Sävinger, found the net at least once, with right back Kasper Palmar becoming their top scorer with eight goals. And both Swedish goalkeepers did an excellent job: Alexander Linden made eight saves (62% saving efficiency) in the first half, and Sävinger stopped 14 balls after the break (67%).

Sweden scored 15 goals from fast breaks and boasted a 77% shot efficiency, compared to their rivals’ meagre 24%. They opened a 5:0 lead early in the match before Kusigaq Nielsen Isaksen scored Greenland’s first goal in the seventh minute. And the Swedes did not slow down afterwards, as depth in their squad allowed them to use rotation and maintain a high tempo during the entire game. 

hummel Player of the Match: Kasper Palmar (Sweden)