Sweden stop Germany's comeback to inch closer to quarter-finals at North Macedonia 2024

24 Jun. 2024

Sweden stop Germany's comeback to inch closer to quarter-finals at North Macedonia 2024

With their most dominant performance at the 2024 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, Sweden clinched their fourth win in a row, 26:25, against Germany, making a huge step towards the quarter-finals of the competition. 

Sweden vs Germany 26:25 (14:10)

For the first six minutes and 40 seconds of the match, Sweden, which started the main round group with two points, failed to score a goal, as Germany’s defence was too sturdy and delivered a flawless performance. But on the other hand, Sweden’s goalkeeper, Stina Littorin, had her own otherworldly outing, saving six of the first seven shots she faced, for a superb 86% saving efficiency.

Therefore, the Scandinavian side was still in the match and as soon as they got their attack going, including a seven-on-six tactic deployed by coach Jesper Ostlund, Sweden got in the driver’s seat, as right back Madeleine Rehnberg and line player Stina Wiksfors had seven goals between them.

While Germany goalkeeper Marie Kristin Weiss also boasted a 43% saving efficiency, with 10 saves, an 8:3 Sweden run helped create the biggest lead of the match, 10:6, after only 21 minutes, with Germany in deep trouble, especially after conceding a 27:29 loss earlier in the competition against France, in the preliminary round.

As the first half ended, Germany boasted a meagre 38% shooting efficiency, clearly not enough for a match of this magnitude, as the European side needed more from their attack, which also turned the ball over 10 times in the first 30 minutes, as numbers did not back up Germany’s claim for the win in the match.

For the first six minutes of the second half, Germany kept dreaming, as they cut the gap to only two goals and continued to apply pressure. But Sweden had two good things really going their way. First was Littorin, who continued to make some amazing saves, while the second one was the connection with the line players.

Germany could simply not stop Wiksfors, who finished the match with seven goals, as a 5:0 unanswered run from the Scandinavian side, which saw Germany fail to score for eight minutes and 26 seconds, simply put Germany so far behind, 17:25, they could simply not dream about attempting to mount a comeback.

However, Germany did not back down and tired legs saw Sweden drop their level. A 6:0 unanswered run spurred by right back Lara Sandra Däuble, who finished the match with seven goals and six assists, helped Germany cut the gap to two goals, as Sweden failed to score for 11 minutes and three seconds.

But when left back Emma Mihailovic saw a crack in Germany’s defence, she pushed through and scored the winning goal, her fifth of the match, as Germany scored twice in 26 seconds, but failed to convert a shot with eight seconds to go, when Nieke Kühne intercepted a pass, went one-on-one with Littorin, but the goalkeeper had her 21st save, for a fantastic 47% saving efficiency, to help Sweden secure the 26:25 win.

Littorin was also named the Alkaloid Player of the Match, as voted by fans on the IHF.info website and on the IHF app, after one of the best individual performances so far at the 2024 IHF Women's Junior World Championship.

With four points in the main round, Sweden are leading the group and are now preparing for the showdown against France, which will likely decide the first place in the standings, provided that France win against the People’s Republic of China in the next match.

Germany are virtually out of contention, as they need to win their last match against China, while France need to lose against both China and Sweden in order to create a three-way tie which would help them seal the second spot.

Alkaloid Player of the Match: Stina Littorin (Sweden)