Algeria, Argentina, Chile and Iceland all seal second wins at Croatia 2023
07 Aug. 2023
The President’s Cup threw off on Monday at the 2023 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, with Algeria, Argentina, Chile and Iceland all sealing their second wins in the competition.
Argentina (39:25 against Burundi) and Algeria (39:14 against New Zealand) registered their highest wins at Croatia 2023, clearly dominating their opponents from the start until the finish and are now on four points in the group.
Iceland and Chile followed up, yet their path to the win was harder. Iceland, still reeling after their elimination, had their share of trouble against the Republic of Korea but sealed a big win (38:23), with Chile only creating a larger gap in the second half against Georgia in their 34:25 win.
- Group I
Algeria vs New Zealand 39:14 (22:4)
For the first five minutes, New Zealand managed to deliver their best stint at the 2023 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, pressuring Algeria in attack, with the first goal of the game coming only after five minutes and 19 seconds from the African side, with plenty of turnovers made by both sides.
However, Algeria quickly came back to their senses and scored five goals in the next five minutes to open a four-goal lead (5:1). It went from bad to worse for the New Zealand side from that moment on, as Algeria’s back, Abdelouahab Djemati, had once again an impressive outing, scoring six goals in the first 30 minutes.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was an 11:0 run to finish the first half for Algeria, with the gap ballooning to 18 goals (22:4), also thanks to some magic from goalkeeper Sid Ali Achiche, who displayed an impressive 60% saving efficiency, after stopping six of the first 10 shots he faced.
There was no stopping Algeria, which did concede more goals in the second half than in the first. Still, they were so far ahead it did not matter, especially after they also rested some key players for the last match of the group, scheduled for Tuesday, a true African derby against Morocco.
With a 39:14 win, their largest-ever at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, Algeria are now on the first place in the group, with four points, and will aim to finish in that position. At the same time, New Zealand are last, with zero points, having now conceded 191 goals in the first four matches, the second-highest number at Croatia 2023.
hummel Player of the Match: Mohamed Ali Bendiab (Algeria)
- Group II
Iceland vs Republic of Korea 38:23 (18:13)
Iceland were undoubtedly left reeling after their losses against Czechia and Egypt, which meant that the European side failed to meet their objective making it to the main round.
Yet they needed to be back at the highest possible threshold after a rest day on Sunday, as a game against the reigning Asian champions, the Republic of Korea, was never going to be an easy task, especially as Korea were still eyeing their first win.
However, Iceland, who now set their eyes on winning the President’s Cup, did not have it easy in the first half, with the Republic of Korea adding some pressure, as back Jinhyeok Moon scored five goals and helped cancel the early Iceland lead, by tying the game (5:5).
Korea hovered around the two or three-goal mark throughout the whole first half, only for Iceland to create a five-goal lead at the break, 18:13, mainly thanks to the efforts of Elmar Erlingsson, who had eight assists, nearly half of Iceland’s goals coming from his passes.
As Korea started the second half better, Iceland were put under pressure. Still, they navigated those moments expertly and used a 6:0 run between the 35th and the 43rd minutes to create an unassailable gap (26:18), which continued to grow as Korea faltered. Goalkeeper Ísak Steinsson had a monster game in the second half, finishing with 16 saves for a 50% saving efficiency.
On the back of that run, Iceland eventually sealed the second win at Croatia 2023 for the European side (38:23), and now lead the group with four points. The European side are now favourites to head to the Placement Matches 17-20 before their last game of the group, scheduled for Tuesday when they are due to face Bahrain.
hummel Player of the Match: Reynir Thór Stefánsson (Iceland)
- Group III
Chile vs Georgia 34:25 (14:9)
Chile claimed their second straight win at the competition, as they had an advantage throughout the match with Georgia. With four points, the South Americans still hope to reach the Placement Matches 17-20 and continue fighting for the President's Cup. In contrast, Georgia suffered their fourth defeat in as many games at Croatia 2023, and they are still waiting for their maiden points.
Chile started the match well and took an early 6:2 lead by the 11th minute. They defended very well in the first half, and their goalkeeper Francisco Latorre boasted a 40% save efficiency before the break, which helped his team to have the upper hand after 30 minutes (14:9).
In the second half, both teams' attack efficiency improved, but it was Chile who steadily kept the game under their control. Fernando Castillo, who was elected "hummel Player of the Match", and Camilo Hernández became their top scorers with seven goals each.
Georgia used all three goalkeepers in this game, but they made only seven saves combined, which was obviously not enough for a positive result. In attack, the Georgians once again heavily relied on Sandro Darsania, and he became the top scorer of the match with nine goals. But just like in all of Georgia's previous games at the competition, Darsania's effort was not enough.
Chile, who ended the game with a 68% shot efficiency, pulled clear at 24:15 midway through the second half. Overall, they scored 20 goals after the break, and it allowed the South Americans to cruise to a well-deserved victory.
hummel Player of the Match: Fernando Castillo (Chile)
- Group IV
Argentina vs Burundi 39:25 (16:13)
Argentina returned back to winning at the 10th IHF Men's Youth World Championship and, at least for now, is at the top of the group with four points. Burundi, still waiting for their maiden win at the flagship competition, will fight with the United States of America to find out in which part of the Presidents' Cup they will continue their path – 25th to 28th place or 29th to 32nd place.
After struggling in the first 30 minutes, Argentina made a break at the start of the second half and made a decisive 5-0 goal run. Burundi again topped their previous performances and were keeping up with the opponents.
In the first 15 minutes of the game, the spotlight was on the goalkeepers, Burundi's Nimubona Eric Odnon and Argentina's Lautaro Rodriguez, as well as nervous attacks, which produced six turnovers on both sides. When Ciza Holly netted for 11:11, Burundi's bench was ecstatic. With the Argentinian attack dropping from 78% to 64%, it is no wonder they couldn't make a break.
Ezequiel Rozitchner became the strongest link of the South American side at the beginning of the first half, scoring three times and doing his part in making a +8 lead (23:15). Burundi weren't able to recover from that, and by the 40th minute, they were trailing by ten. It resulted from their inexperience at the major competition and lack of strength, especially defensive-wise.
By the end of the game Arakaza Bernard and Kamaro Ferdinand were keeping Burundi alive, netting 15 between them. 12 out of 14 Argentinian players netted at least once in the game as they were cruising to, in the end, an easy win. For the last game of Group IV, Argentina will face Sweden in what could be a decisive match for the 17th to 20th placement stage.
hummel Player of the Match: Ezequiel Rozitchner (Argentina)
Photos: Croatia 2023/Kolektiff images