Serbia survive slow start to clinch main round berth against Chile

05 Dec. 2023

Serbia survive slow start to clinch main round berth against Chile

Serbia survived an early scare and some unexpected issues in their last match of the preliminary round at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, but sealed the main round berth, with a 30:16 win over Chile.

Serbia vs Chile 30:16 (10:6)

At only their second appearance at the IHF Women’s World Championship, Chile was at the receiving end of two big losses, 19:44 against Romania and 11:46 against Denmark, conceding the largest number of goals after the first two matches in the preliminary round.

However, with their best result against an European team being a 29-goal loss against Norway at China 2009, the South American side were huge underdogs against Serbia in their last match of this phase of the competition, especially as Serbia were facing a must-win match to progress to the main round.

Anything but a Serbia win would have been a huge surprise, but that did not deter the plucky Chile side to cause huge trouble in the first half, where they even took the lead for the first time at this edition of the IHF Women’s World Championship, 4:3, after 14 minutes.

Serbia looked shellshocked at times, failing to really grasp the situation, as turnovers mounted, with 11 just in the first 30 minutes. Therefore, just looking at the numbers, and with a meagre 44% attacking efficiency, Serbia looked totally out of focus. Nevertheless, they bounced back to boast a four-goal lead at the break, 10:6, with little to separate the two teams.

However, Serbia did have the experience and the depth and, as Chile started to falter, turnovers followed for the South American side. After a strong 3:0 run to start the second half, which cut the gap to only one goal, 10:9, Chile failed to score for eight minutes and nine seconds, as the European side had a 7:0 unanswered run to basically decide the match.

Left wing Aleksandra Stamenić was virtually flawless for Serbia, scoring seven goals out of eight shots, while left back Jovana Jovović added nine assists to her three goals, to dictate the tempo and help Serbia clinch their maiden win at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, 30:16.

Serbia will now head for the Group III of the main round of the competition, where they face Germany, Poland and Japan, but will have a serious handicap, starting with zero points, four less than Germany and two less than Poland, while Denmark and Romania are also sure of starting with at least two points.

After a 35-turnover laden match, Chile conceded the third loss in a row, but they will be happy with the fact that this was their best-ever performance against an European side in the world handball flagship competition, before heading for the President’s Cup, where they are due to face the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan and Congo.

hummel Player of the Match: Madeleine Cortez Fuenzalida (Chile)