Portugal seal dramatic win against the Faroe Islands, while Slovenia, Argentina and Bahrain finish Croatia 2023 with wins
11 Aug. 2023
The Faroe Islands were once again handed a dramatic loss, this time on penalties against Portugal in the Placement Matches 5-8, after 16 penalties were shot and the Faroe Islands missed three of them, with Portugal taking a dramatic 41:40 win.
Argentina, Slovenia and Bahrain all secured wins in their last matches in the competition, with the South American side finishing on the 23rd place, with a 27:22 win against Chile, while Slovenia ended up on the 13th place, after a 30:22 win against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mexico conclude the competition on the 29th place.
Placement Matches 5-8
- Portugal vs Faroe Islands 41:40 after penalties (17:19, 35:35)
After one of the most exciting first halves at the 2023 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, Portugal and the Faroe Islands combined for 36 goals, with both sides boasting an attacking efficiency of over 70%, with both European sides creating superb chances, rendering themselves impossible to stop at times.
It was even more difficult for the Faroe Islands after their devastating extra-time loss against Egypt in the quarter-finals. Still, they bounced back admirably, with Oli Mittun dictating the rhythm once again, confirming his status as one of the top centre backs at Croatia 2023.
Mittun, the top scorer after six games, became more a facilitator than a scorer, serving eight assists, most of them to line player Isak Vedelsbol, who scored seven times, and added four goals himself, as the Faroe Islands pulled away in the last minutes of the first half, to open a two-goal gap (19:17).
It looked like the Faroe Islands had everything under control until Portugal’s centre back Tiago Sousa took control of the game, which he finished with nine goals and eight assists, inspiring a 7:1 run that turned the game on its head and helped Portugal create their first three-goal lead of the match, 30:27.
Despite being man-marked throughout the whole second half, Mittun took over from that moment, finishing the game with 10 goals, helping the Faroe Islands eventually tie the game, with the Scandinavian side missing the chance of winning in the last second, as Portugal’s defence stood tall.
With a 35:35 draw after the regular time, the game went on penalties, with Faroe’s goalkeeper, Aleksandar Lacok, saving two penalties, creating the opening for his side to secure a win, only for Gonçalo Morgado, Portugal’s goalkeeper, to mirror the performance and push the game into another set of penalties.
The Faroe Islands blinked first, as Morgado saved Jákup Egholm’s penalty, with Portugal heading to the Placement Match 5/6. At the same time, the Faroe suffered another disappointing loss and will feature in the Placement Match 7/8.
hummel Player of the Match: Tiago Sousa (Portugal)
Placement Match 15/16
- Slovenia vs Islamic Republic of Iran 30:22 (14:9)
Slovenia were undoubtedly disappointed and needed some fuel to their fire in the last match of the competition at Croatia 2023 after losing the previous game against Austria, as a loss would have seen them seal their worst-ever finish.
The Islamic Republic of Iran were the surprise package in the first part of the competition but dropped their level in the main round, finishing Croatia 2023 with a four-game losing streak, despite being in a prime position to clinch a quarter-finals berth.
Handing chances to all of their players to feature in the last game, Slovenia had all but two outfield players score at least one goal in a game which they dominated from start to finish, taking a strong 8:4 lead early in the match, thanks to goals from Mlivić Malik and Nejc Hriberšek, the same pair of backs which starred for the European side throughout the whole competition.
Malik, the hummel Player of the Match, had five goals and two assists, despite not playing more than 34 minutes in the game, but the Islamic Republic of Iran had no chance of mounting a comeback, especially as their top scorer, Amirhossein Karami, was not in the squad.
Eventually, Slovenia clinched a clear 30:22 win to finish on the 15th place, which definitely was not the plan, while Iran’s 16th place might be their worst finish yet at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, but it showed some sign of progress and promise.
hummel Player of the Match: Mlivić Malik (Slovenia)
Placement Match 23/24
- Chile vs Argentina 22:27 (8:14)
Last year, Argentina beat Chile by 10 goals at the 2022 South and Central American Youth Championship (31:21). The gap between the rivals was not so big. Still, the Argentines had a clear advantage for much of the South American derby and won by five goals.
So Argentina finished 23rd in the competition, their lowest-ever ranking at the IHF Men’s Youth World Championship. Chile ranked 24th, the place they already took in 2013 and 2015.
The Argentines had a slight advantage from the opening minutes, but Chile fought back to draw level at 7:7 by the 20th minute. However, then Argentina used a 4:0 run to take an 11:7 lead, extending the gap to six goals at the break.
Chile were restricted to just eight goals at the break as they struggled against Argentina’s goalkeeper Santino Diotallevi. But after the restart, the Chileans improved their game: Cristobal Oyarzun scored some important goals, and goalkeeper Francisco Latorre stopped quite a few balls.
Latorre ended the game with 10 saves, but while Chile reduced the deficit to just three goals (20:23) with four minutes left, they could not achieve more, as Argentina maintained their lead until the final whistle.
hummel Player of the Match: Santiago Diotallevi (Argentina)
Placement Match 29/30
- Mexico vs Bahrain 21:37 (14:18)
Bahrain claimed their second win at Croatia 2023 and ended the competition on a high. Mexico tried hard to get back to the game, but Bahrain's decisive 5:0 goal run in the first half was too much of an obstacle.
If the game was judged by the first ten minutes, you would expect to have a more well-balanced match. Mexico even had a lead twice as Brahian was trying to tie. After Bahrain scored their first lead (6:5), both sides seemed to have a crisis, not being able to score for seven minutes. The string of saves, turnovers and poor judgement saw both sides struggle for efficiency.
Bahrain was the first side to come out of the black hole, made a 5:0 unanswered run, and soon set their biggest advantage in the game, +7. After eight minutes, Mexico finally managed to find a gap in the opponent's defence and managed to narrow the gap with the help of Brian Osvaldo Navarro Gonzalez.
Salman Alshowaikh and Talal Alzowayed gave an additional boost to Bahrain in the second half allowing their team to get to the double-digit lead, which was hit in the 45th minute. Mexico's trail would be even higher if not for Christian Alejandro Molina Tejeda, whose saves kept them on a more acceptable gap.
Mexico had to acknowledge Bahrain were the better team and have their peace with having only one win at the 10th IHF Men's Youth World Championship - against New Zealand. Ending the game with only 44% of converted shots couldn't give any other outcome, while Bahrain's accuracy dropped with the realisation they had a no-question win in their hands, ending with 62%.
hummel Player of the Match: Salman Alshowaikh (Bahrain)
Photo: Croatia 2023/Kolektiff images