01 Dec. 2023
Pushed by their home crowd in Gothenburg, co-hosts Sweden opened the 26th IHF Women's World Championship with a clear victory against People's Republic of China.
Sweden vs People's Republic of China 36:24 (22:8)
The Scandinavians, who are co-hosting their first World Championship in history, looked somewhat nervous in front of a large audience in the Gothenburg's Scandinavium early in the match, and their 4:3 advantage in the eighth minute looked shaky. But a 3:0 run, spurred by Nathalie Hagman and Jamina Roberts, helped them to pull clear, having a soothing effect and enabling them to show their firepower.
The People's Republic of China displayed a seven-on-six attack, but the efficiency was not top notch, as the co-hosts punished them for multiple turnovers and increased their advantage after excellent fast breaks in nearly every minute. Goalkeeper Johanna Bundsen boasted a 47% save efficiency in the first half, and Nina Dano had an excellent first half, also contributing to Sweden's 14-goal at the break, 22:8.
China's goalkeeping in the first half left much to be desired, as Chang Lu failed to stop any of the 21 shots. After the restart, she was replaced by Yunuo Hu, who recorded the Asian team's first save in the match only in the 43th minute.
However, the game became more balanced in the second half, as the Asian side got more and more confident, while Sweden, who rotated their squad and gave a chance to a number of second-choice players, slowed down.
China actually won the second half 16:14, scoring twice as many goals as before the break, but the co-hosts' win was never in danger. 12 Swedish players found their names on the scoresheet, with Nina Koppang scoring six times, as the co-hosts' top scorer.
Following this victory, Sweden lead Group A with two points, ahead of Croatia and Senegal who surprisingly shared spoils earlier today, as China are last, with zero points.
hummel Player of the Match: Sofia Hvenfelt (Sweden)