Sweden seal President's Cup with big win over Morocco
11 Aug. 2023
The final of the President's Cup became a straightforward affair, with Sweden, one of the title favourites at Croatia 2023, who missed the cut after the preliminary round, winning their subsequent four games, including the last one against Morocco (47:20), to finish on the 17th place.
In the other match, North Macedonia confirmed their excellent credentials. They finished ninth, their best-ever finish at the IHF Men's Youth World Championship, with a win over Czechia (28:22) in the Placement Match 9/10.
Placement Match 17/18
- Morocco vs Sweden 20:47 (12:26)
For Sweden, it was the fifth win in seven matches of the competition, and while the 17th place is their lowest ranking ever at this level and they failed to reach the main round, winning the President's Cup is quite a consolation, especially given that they beat Morocco by as many as 27 goals.
The Africans, who featured at the World Championship after a 14-year break, finished 18th. They defeated New Zealand, Algeria and Montenegro during the event but came up short against the Swedes, who were seen as the President's Cup favourites and confirmed that status in style.
The Scandinavians were unstoppable already in the first half, scoring as many as 26 goals with an impressive 90% shot efficiency. They opened a 7:0 lead early in the match before Abdellah Razgui scored Morocco's first goal in the eighth minute.
The Africans had 16 turnovers during these 30 minutes, and Sweden made use of their rivals' mistakes, scoring time after time. Morocco had used all their three goalkeepers already before the break, but none of them made any saves.
A 14-goal gap at the break looked unsurmountable for Morocco, so the game was all but decided, but Sweden continued to push forward. Ten minutes after the restart, they already led by 20 goals (35:15) and in the end, the gap further increased.
12 of Sweden's players scored at least once, with Elias Lunstad becoming their top scorer with 10 goals, while Emil Holmberg Schatzl did a good job in the goal, as he stopped 19 balls for a 50% save rate. Morocco were limited to a 39% shot efficiency, so Sweden took a big win and were happy to lift the trophy – even a consolation one.
hummel Player of the Match: Elias Lundstad (Sweden)
Placement Match 9/10
- 20:00 CEST North Macedonia vs Czechia 28:22 (13:11)
North Macedonia resisted all Czechia's efforts and ended Croatia 2023 with a win. The ninth place is North Macedonia's best ranking at the IHF Men's Youth Handball Championship after placing 13th in 2019. Debutants from Czechia had a great competition, striking four wins - against Iceland, Japan, Brazil and Saudi Arabia; and only lost to finalists Spain and bronze medal contenders Egypt.
North Macedonia had one more good start to the match, having an early 3:0. Czechia needed three minutes to get their engines started, and once they heated up, it was a whole different game. With a strong defensive display, they forced North Macedonia to make mistakes and soon it was level.
A few saves by Danilo Brestovac and missed chances saw Czechia in problem as they were soon trailing by four. Playing seven-against-six proved not to be working for them, but the luck was on their side. North Macedonia didn't take advantage of their opponent's problems and kept the same gap until the game's last five minutes, with Mirche Kalajdijeski showing off his skills.
However, debutants of the competition saw their opportunity as the half-time siren was approaching and managed to come closer and set 11:13. Jonáš Josef and Pavel Dufek gave an additional boost to their side and in four minutes of the second half, they managed to tie again.
Just like in the first half, Czechia could have managed to set more stable play and kept making new technical mistakes which cost them the eventual turnaround or at least a tie and extra-time in Koprivnica. With strong defence and determined work in the attack, North Macedonia again propelled to a four-goal lead and decided the game, ending with a nice celebration.
hummel Player of the Match: Mirche Kalajdjieski (North Macedonia)
Photo: Croatia 2023/Kolektiff images