Continental derbies to highlight Monday action in President's Cup

25 Jun. 2023

Continental derbies to highlight Monday action in President's Cup

In the President's Cup, the last eight group stage matches will take place on Monday, and then the best two teams from each group will proceed to the Placement matches 17-24, while the other sides will go to the Placement Matches 25-32.

In Groups II and III, the two best-ranked teams have already been determined, while in Groups I, USA still have a chance to leapfrog Algeria, and in Group IV, Cuba hope to finish above Morocco.

Some exciting clashes are expected on Monday, including two continental derbies – Kuwait and Japan will fight for the top position in Group B in an all-Asian duel. At the same time, two European sides, Norway and Slovenia, will play for the first place in Group III. 

Group I

  • 11:00 CEST (12:00 EEST) Poland vs Algeria

Seen as one of the President's Cup favourites, Poland is the only team in Group I to have secured a place in the Placement Matches 17-24. Even a draw against Algeria will be enough for them to finish top of the group.

Poland, who showed their attacking power in a Sunday match against Libya (37:17), need a win in this match to take the first position. However, even a draw will be enough for the North African side to secure a top-two finish in the group.

On Sunday, Algeria were frustrated by a draw against USA, as they led 23:17 with eight minutes to go but let the victory slip out of their hands. However, their goalkeeper Boudemagh Houssem played an excellent game, making 23 saves for a 50% saving efficiency, and if he continues like that, the Africans will have a chance against Poland. 

  • 13:15 CEST (14:15 EEST) United States of America vs Libya

The preliminary stage could have been more optimistic for USA, who lost all three matches and scored 46.7 goals on average. However, the team coached by Daniko Rojevic showed strong will on Sunday, as they salvaged a 23:23 draw against Algeria and claimed their first point at the competition.

The USA still have a chance to finish among the top two teams in the group and proceed to the Placement Matches 25-32. But even if they beat Libya and Algeria lose against Poland, both teams will be level on points and a goal difference in all group matches will be applied. As Algeria now have +8, and USA -25, the Americans have a challenging task – but nothing is impossible.

In turn, Libya are already sure to play in the Placement Matches 25-32. The Africans' performance has been affected by injuries, yet after four straight defeats, they hope to leave some positive impression in the remaining part of the competition.

Group II

  • 11:00 CEST (12:00 EEST) Kuwait vs Japan

Both Asian sides have already secured a top-two finish in the group, so they will keep fighting for the President's Cup in the Placement Matches 17-24. On Sunday, both teams claimed their second straight win at the championship and did it in style. 

Kuwait, who had defeated Costa Rica 41:28 in their last match of the preliminary round, showed their fire power again, beating Angola 38:26. And Japan defeated Costa Rica 41:22, with as many as 13 of their players scoring at least once. Notably, Ren Arase was their top scorer with six goals, while Naoki Fujisaka, who had stood out in the previous matches, now netted five times.

Last year, Kuwait and Japan met in the semi-final of the 2022 AHF Men's Junior Championship, and future champions from Japan won in a close fight (28:26). Now, another tight battle is expected, and the winner will top Group II. 

  • 13:15 CEST (14:15 EEST) Costa Rica vs Angola

So far, these two teams have lost all their four matches at Germany/Greece 2023, and they are certain to proceed to the Placement Matches 25-32. However, at least one of the rivals will end their losing run on Monday.
Angola will be seen as favourites, and they have more experience at this level, playing their fourth World Championship, and showed some decent performances in their previous matches. However, their 12-goal defeat against Kuwait at the start of the consolation tournament was hardly satisfying.

And for Costa Rica, who are playing their maiden World Championship, the event is a big learning experience. The Central American side have lost all matches by a wide margin, from 13 to 31 goals, conceding 173 goals in total (43 on average). 

But despite their defensive woes, the Costa Ricans hope to claim one or two wins in the remaining games – and who knows, maybe already against Angola. 




Group III

  • 11:45 CEST (12:45 EEST) Norway vs Slovenia

Only three European teams failed to reach the main round and continue the World Championship in the President's Cup, and two of them will meet on Monday. Both have four points and have already secured a berth at the Placement Matches 17-24, but now they will fight for the top position in the group.

After a mediocre performance at the preliminary stage, Norway finally showed their power on Sunday, beating Greenland 47:21. However, their clear win in this game was easy to predict, and the Scandinavians will face a much tougher task against Slovenia.

The Balkan side, who were frustrated to miss a main round berth, spent a lot of energy in their opening President's Cup match against Argentina (30:29). In a thrilling encounter, Vid Miklavec scored a winner in the last second, securing two points for his team.

Notably, Norway and Slovenia met at the consolation stage of the 2022 EHF European Junior Championship, as Slovenia celebrated a 42:34 win. In the end, the Balkan side finished ninth, while Norway took the 15th position. 

  • 14:00 CEST (15:00 EEST) Argentina vs Greenland

Argentina, who have so far lost all four games at the World Championship, have a reason to feel unlucky. After all, the South Americans lost 31:32 against Norway on Friday and suffered another one-goal defeat two days later, 29:30 against Slovenia.

So the Argentines will end up only in the Placement Matches 25-32, where they are supposed to be among the favourites. But before that, they have a good chance to finally end their losing streak in the match with Greenland.
So far, Greenland have struggled in their four matches, scoring only 69 goals (17.3 on average) and conceding 208 (52 on average). So unless they suddenly improve their game a lot, it will be very hard for them to snatch even one point against Argentina. 

Group IV

  • 11:45 CEST (12:45 EEST) Morocco vs Saudi Arabia

Both sides could have booked their tickets to the Placement Matches 17-24 with wins on Sunday, but only Saudi Arabia reached that goal. After claiming their second straight victory at the tournament, 19:18 against Chile, the Asian side secured a top-two finish in Group IV.

Saudi Arabia should be given credit for their mental strength, as they have already claimed two wins by just one goal, starting with 28:27 against Cuba. However, they still lack consistency, which may become a negative factor against Morocco.

The Africans will probably be more motivated in this duel, as they have three points and need at least a draw to secure a top-two finish. They could have done it already on Sunday but failed to beat Cuba, ending a hard-fought encounter in a 24:24 draw.

However, everything is in Morocco's hands, and they have some trump cards, such as good defence and Youssef El Mouaddar's solid goalkeeping. And if the African side wins, they will finish top of the group. 

  • 14:00 CEST (15:00 EEST) Chile vs Cuba

A draw against Morocco was a historic result for Cuba, as the World Championship debutants earned their maiden point at this level. Thanks to it, the Caribbean team still have a chance to proceed to the Placement Matches 17-24.

If they beat Chile and Morocco lose against Saudi Arabia, the two sides will be tied on points, so the overall goal difference will be a tie-breaker for determining the second-placed team. Morocco now have +6, and Cuba -1, so anything is possible.

The Cubans have definitely improved as the competition progressed. Now they play more as a team instead of relying on a couple of key players, and their defence have become more solid. That said, Chile were also close to ending their losing run on Sunday, as they lost by just a goal to Saudi Arabia. 

Some players, such as goalkeeper Santiago Menanteanu and right wing Luciano Scaramelli, can make problems for any opponent, so Chile can also hope for a positive result against Cuba.