Powerhouses clash in Berlin in Placement Matches; co-host Greece take on Bahrain to end on a high
28 Jun. 2023
The last day of the 24th IHF Men's Junior World Championship for 24 teams is underway and four European and four non-European teams are vying for the placement from ninth to 16th place.
Powerhouses France and Spain will bring special excitement to the Max-Schmeling-Halle and Brazil and Tunisia will heat things up shortly before them.
The World Championship in Athens will be closed with Sweden facing Egypt, and before the last game, co-hosts Greece will fight for the 13-16 placement with Bahrain.
Placement Matches 9-16
- 09:00 CEST Brazil vs Tunisia
The day of the quarter-finals in Berlin will be opened with Placement Matches 13-16. Brazil and Tunisia are taking the spotlight early in the morning. Ending two times seventh in the last two editions of the World Championship, playing 13-16 match is not what Tunisia were expecting, but they will try to push Brazil back.
With both sides suffering a significant defeat the day before against more experienced European teams, they want to close the World Championship journey with a win. Brazil have four straight defeats, most recently against France. Tunisia have a more positive note. Despite having four defeats, they are on three wins in a row.
Brazil lost to France 21:35 and they did not have strength for more than ten minutes. Hugo Bryan Monta Da Silva once again was the only one in the mood and had an eight-goal outing. With William Da Silva Santos resting in a way, Luiz Felipe Araujo Vieira took his chance and saved 12 times.
Tunisia could not find a solution for Spain's fast-paced handball and conceded 40 goals. However, Tunisia was equally good at the imposed rhythm, attack-wise and with an eight-goal outing by Kousay Ben Fraj scored 29.
- 11:00 CEST France vs Spain
Two strong European sides will enter the Placement Matches 9-12 with the hope of another win at the competition. Even though the placement matches were not in their focus ahead of the World Championship, they still want to improve the overall impression.
In the last five editions of the IHF Men's Junior World Championship, France never ranked worse than sixth place and are still reigning world champions. Their opponents have more back-and-forth success and they finished 10th at the 2019 World Championship but being an M20 EHF EURO 2023 champion it is hard to watch them at this stage of the competition.
France are the second-best attack in the competition and they want to end on a high. With their top scorer Mattéo Fadhuile (35 goals), they will go head-to-head with Spain and their best player, Jan Gurri (33 goals).
Both sides had a tough start, especially in the Main Round, finishing as a third-placed team. France look like they have dealt with their issue in the attack (turnovers), while Spain need to toughen up in the defence.
- 18:00 CEST (19:00 EEST) Greece vs Bahrain
Greece used up all their strength in the Main Round and after failing to seal a quarter-final berth, they had a hard time against Sweden. The co-hosts had an eight-minute lead when Sweden made a blistering start and took over.
For the farewell on their home ground, Greece will try to beat Bahrain and get their hands on the third win at the World Championship in the Placement Matches 13-16. The Asian side failed to surprise Egypt despite a strong performance all the way to the end of the game. Bahrain put up a good fight and took advantage of the opponent's mistakes.
Bahrain already wrote history by progressing to the Main Round, and regardless of the outcome of the game against Greece, this will be their best placement ever. In two previous editions at the World Championship, they were 17th.
“Our goal is to win in the last game and get the best possible position in this event. Of course, we're upset with the defeat against Sweden, but that's not going to affect us. Our performances were satisfactory, and I hope the fans enjoyed the spectacle," said Greek goalkeeper Georgios Daios for handball.org.gr.
- 20:00 CEST (21:00 EEST) Sweden vs Egypt
Sweden have a chance to make a better placement than in the previous 2019 World Championship, when they were 11th. However, the Scandinavian side needs one more win at Germany/Greece 2023 to be closer to the achievement. They will pit side with Egypt in the Placement Matches 9-12.
Sweden left no hopes for the co-hosts Greece on Wednesday, with goals galore in a 39:29 win in Athens. Only the two goalkeepers did not manage to score, but both had their share of saves, splitting 15 between them. After an unlucky elimination in the Main Round after a 26:29 defeat against Denmark and failing to qualify for the quarter-finals, Sweden are hoping their efficient attack (second-best at the competition) will bring them one last win.
“It was a good race for us. We're still disappointed we didn't make the quarter-finals, but it was a good performance today. We want to win the next game as well regardless of who the opponent will be and to close the tournament on a positive note,” added Swedish player Kelvin Roberts for handball.org.gr.
The Pharaohs are coming into the match after a hard-fought win over Bahrain, with goalkeeper Youssef Salama being the man of the moment. Egypt lived on the success of the previous generation that won the bronze medal in 2019, but in the do-or-die game against Serbia, they did not deliver as expected.
Staying out of the quarter-finals maybe affected their confidence, but the 2022 CAHB African Men's Junior Championship winners are still among the top four attacks in the competition. What will be the outcome of the strong attacking sides? The last match of the day in Athens will give us an answer, with Sweden having the role of the favourites on the paper.