Sweden stay flawless and win group as main round concludes in Gothenburg

11 Dec. 2023

Sweden stay flawless and win group as main round concludes in Gothenburg

Co-hosts Sweden played the last match on their home court at the 26th IHF Women's World Championship, extending their winning run to six matches, beating Montenegro 32:25. 

Main round
Group I
Montenegro vs Sweden 25:32 (9:15)

Following Hungary's dramatic win against Croatia earlier today, the two quarter-finals spots in Group I were decided, as both Montenegro and Sweden had secured their progression. However, both teams were fighting for the top position in the group, and while a draw was enough for the co-hosts to reach that goal, their Balkan rivals were facing a must-win match.

But beating Sweden in front of thousands of their fans in Gothenburg is difficult, and Tomas Axner's side started to show their superiority from the opening minutes. Just like in previous matches, they relied on a solid defence and some excellent goalkeeping, taking a 9:6 midway through the first half.

While Jamina Roberts scored four goals from four attempts before the break, Johanna Bundsen did a great job between the posts, stopping nine shots – including a couple of penalties – in the opening 30 minutes. Her 50% save rate was one of the key factors which helped Sweden to pull clear by six goals at half-time, 15:9.

As the match resumed, Montenegro tried to bounce back, and a 6:1 run between minutes 38 and 43 cut the deficit to just two goals, 18:20, making Axner call for a team time-out. Sweden scored two quick goals to pull clear again, but led by Jelena Despotovic in attack, the Balkan team continued to fight.

Still, the co-hosts had enough quality and mental strength to maintain the control of the game. While their goalkeeping efficiency fell in the second half, Sweden defended well and had enough power in attack, and players like Jamina Roberts, Nathalie Hagman, Jenny Carlson and Linn Blohm regularly found the net. The game actually became very one-sided, as the Scandinavians enjoyed a 5:0 run between minutes 50 and 56 and cruised to a seven-goal win, 32:25. 

With the maximum of 10 points, Sweden finished top of the group and will now move to Denmark for the quarter-final against Germany on Wednesday. Montenegro have six points, just as many as Hungary, but they ranked second on a head-to-head encounter and will now meet Denmark, also on Wednesday, in Herning. 

hummel Player of the Match: Jamina Roberts (Sweden)