Co-hosts Greece clash with Egypt for important first place in group
22 Jun. 2023
It is crunch time for teams as the group phase is coming to an end. The Main Round and President's Cup participants are known in almost all groups playing in Athens. The only thing that remains is playing for the important points and top places in the group. The only uncertainty is in Group F, as both Slovenia and Bahrain can join Sweden among the top 16 teams.
- 14:30 CEST (15:30 EEST) Argentina vs Norway
Norway still do not know about winning at the IHF Men's Junior World Championship. After losing to Denmark at the start, Hungary also showed their strength over Norway, leaving them disappointed in the last place in the group.
The substitute nation, therefore, already know they will continue in President's Cup, thus going into the placement from 17th to 32nd place, which will be their worst placement since 1977. Their biggest strengths are centre back Tord Lea Knutsen and line player Lars Eirik Larsen, whose connection on the court produced the most goals for the Norwegian side.
Argentina had high hopes against Denmark, and if they transfer the same level of energy, aggressiveness in defence and pace, they have high chances against Norway to get to their first victory at Germany/Greece 2023.
- 19:15 CEST (20:15 EEST) Hungary vs Denmark
In an all-European duel, Hungary and Denmark will fight for the pole position ahead of the start of the Main Round on Saturday.
Hungary did not blink against Argentina and Norway, having a strong defensive outing in both games. They conceded only 22 goals in both games, with great performances by Kristóf Palasics and Krisztián Mikler between the posts.
"We will play Denmark for the first place in the group which is very important. We have to stay focused and win that game as well. The next matches are difficult, and we have to continue with the same pace," said Hungarian centre back Péter Lukács.
Denmark are coming in after a great battle against Argentina. The Danes were active in the attack, finding easy solutions for aggressive Argentinian defence, while their goalkeeper Mikkel Moller Lovkvist had a good day at the office, with 35% saving efficiency.
- 12:15 CEST (13:15 EEST) Bahrain vs Greenland
The 2022 Asian Junior Championship runners-up produced their best performance at Germany/Greece 2023 and were close to winning over Slovenia. Bahrain's goalkeeper Hesham Ida was crucial for the result after finishing the game with 16 saves and 45% saving efficiency, giving nightmares to European attackers.
Bahrain kept their Main Round hopes alive, and they are eager to finish the group with a first win at the competition, which can carry them to the top 16 teams. Yet, they are still relying on Slovenia's result against Sweden, but one thing is sure, they are favourites against Greenland.
Greenland are the only team from the group that is certain to continue in President's Cup, after a 12:50 defeat against Sweden. Low attack efficiency without solid defence saw Greenland trail already by 19 goals in the first half. Angutimmarik Kreutzmann's team will try to show a better performance against Bahrain, but it will be a hard task against a motivated opponent.
- 17:00 CEST (18:00 EEST) Sweden vs Slovenia
Slovenia were upset by Bahrain on the second day of playing in Athens, pulling off a draw in the last seconds of the game (29:29). Without a win, Slovenia is still not through to the Main Round of the competition, which is a clear goal for them.
Saša Prapotnik's team does not have much time to recover, but they need to regain their confidence for the last match in the group and the most important one. They need at least a point against the Scandinavian side to qualify for the Main Round. The most important thing for the Slovenians is to have more concentration in the attack to reduce technical errors to a minimum.
Sweden had a much easier day and have less fatigue after an easy 50:12 win over Greenland. Dennis Sandberg took the opportunity to try different tactics options but also to rest key players a day before the duel against Slovenia.
They are efficient from every position, not leaving much space for the defensive players. The Scandinavian side will have less pressure after sealing the main round berth, which can be a small advantage for Slovenia, but you should never underestimate your opponent.
- 12:15 CEST (13:15 EEST) Chile vs Morocco
The battle for prestige, as both sides are still waiting for their first win at Germany/Greece 2023. Morocco have only three wins in the IHF Men's Junior World Championship history, and in the last match of Group G, they have a chance to score the first one in the competition, with more games to follow in the President's Cup.
Morocco have trouble with efficiency, and they must put more effort into shots from nine metres, especially after 19 per cent nine-metre shot efficiency against Serbia.
Chile, on the other hand, had even less luck in the competition so far, not being able to score more than 18 goals. In the attack, they are relying on Luciano Scarameli, the author of nine goals at Germany/Greece 2023, and Benjamin Barrios, who has second best efficiency in the squad.
- 19:15 CEST (20:15 EEST) Serbia vs Iceland
Both sides secured their Main Round berths after clear wins on day two in Athens, and now they will enter the clash for the first spot in the group, and the crucial points. The true all-European duel will give fast-paced handball from one side and strong defence with a good back court line on the other.
Iceland are going step by step, and, despite having two straight victories at the competition, they did not reach it with ease. On the first day, they were struggling against Tunisia, ultimately winning only 17:15. They sealed a comfortable win against Chile (35:18), but Chile had a chance for a comeback in mid-second-half, proving Iceland still needed more time to find the correct rhythm.
Serbia are slight favourite in the match, with a wide range of players relying on efficient attack and strong defence, with Luka Krivokapić and Marko Mrdović between the posts. The Serbians opened the competition with an unbelievable 41:13 win over Chile and closed the second day, beating Morocco 38:20, conceding less than 35 goals in two games.
"Even though they didn't beat Morocco and Chile the way we did, it doesn't mean anything because it's a team that has exceptional players in all positions. I think that we have matured as a team and that everything will be on our side this year. We know what awaits us, we don't run away from the role of favourite, and we believe in each other and in passing on with more points," said Serbian Head coach Đorđe Teodorović for rss.org.rs.
- 14:30 CEST (15:30 EEST) Cuba vs Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's main force against Cuba will be their aggressive defence, which was a problem for both Egypt and Greece in the previous two matches. Even though both teams will continue their World Championship journey in the President's Cup, they are fighting for important points.
The winner of the game will be the third team of the group, having a slight advantage in the upcoming part of the competition. Debutants Cuba dream of their first-ever win, and in order to do so, they need to strengthen their defensive rows.
While their attacking skills need a little bit of tuning, their defence was the main problem in two previous matches against Egypt and Greece, having a total of 87 goals past them. And Saudi Arabia must keep an eye on only two players: Samuel Alejandro Cordies Castillo and Maiko Antono Vazques Cordova. The duo scored 30 out of 54 Cuban goals.
- 17:00 CEST (18:00 EEST) Egypt vs Greece
Co-hosts have high expectations for this edition of the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, dreaming of repeating or topping the 1999 success when Greece ended up eighth. They have a good base after two clear wins in the group phase, now waiting for the crucial match against Egypt for first place in Group H.
Greece had strong attacking skills against Cuba and Saudi Arabia, with almost all players netting at least once. The current top scorers for the team are centre back Konstantinos Kotsionis and left wing Ioannis Vasileiou Tsafos.
"We are playing against Egypt, which we haven't seen against European teams lately, but we know their potential as a very good opponent with many different solutions in the game. We are here and ready to fight," said Greek head coach Nikos Georgiadis for handball.org.gr and left wing Armando Sina added: "'We are aiming for first place in our group, and we are able to conquer it. It is certainly a derby with Egypt. However, whichever team makes the fewest mistakes will be the one to win."
The 2022 CAHB African Men's Junior Championship winners are coming in hot, led by Mohamed Ibrahim, Rady Ahmed and Omar Mohamed. Egypt have a good start to the game but often have a drop in energy levels mid-game, which was mostly shown against Saudi Arabia. They need to control it in order to reach the much-desired first spot in the group.