20 Aug. 2007
Germany and Denmark stepped close to the semi-finals after winning their matches of the main round to get a real chance to play for medals. Both teams are the sole unbeaten at the Men's Junior World Championship in Macedonia. Most excitement will be in Group MI of the main round where all other teams, Sweden, Egypt, France and Macedonia have their chance to qualify for the semi-finals. By calculation, they could reach second place in Group MI. France had an easy win against Kuwait, 36:20 and managed to earn the first two points in Group MI. The players of France didn't have any difficulties in breaking the resistance of the Asian side to manage a 16-goal margin in the end.
Sweden suffered their first defeat in the tournament, they lost 25:28 to Egypt. This was a big shock for the Scandinavian team; especially as they had passed for the big favourites before the match. Now Egypt is back in the struggle for the semi-finals. In the second interval, the players of Egypt improved their performance in defence, they started to score quick goals, and so with ten minutes to go, led with five goals.
Germany was just too strong for Macedonia, they soared to a 28:20 win; leaving little hope for surprise. The European champions dominated the game from beginning to end to record the fifth victory in a row.The host team found no response to the opponent’s game till the end of the first half. Germany showed no mercy to their opponents' mistakes, building a nine goal margin to a 21:12 score on 42 minute.
In Group MII, Denmark and Croatia are the only teams unbeaten. Denmark need one more victory to secure a spot in the semi-finals. Danish goalkeeper Tim Winkler became the hero of his national team, as he saved 18 balls on the match against Russia to secure Denmark's 29:27 victory. In the second half, beside good performance of Winkler, who had 15 saves for 15 minutes, Denmark started a strong campaign in attack to manage to take the lead with ten minutes from the end.
Spain had a chance to take one point in their match versus Croatia, but in the last attack, Batinovic stole the ball to score the decisive goal that brought them the 27:25 win. Croatia hope they will beat Korea tomorrow to earn a spot in the semi-finals.
Slovenia beat Korea in a very interesting match with lots of upside downs in result. In the end, Slovenia won 34:33, after keeping the ball in their possession in the last 20 seconds. Slovenia is third in the group with two hard games versus Slovenia and Denmark scheduled for the next two days.
Portugal won 33:31, but elimination from main round took effect on Portugal’s motivation. Jose Rolo scored the winner in last minute, and after that, Chile committed a technical error with 30 seconds until the end; failing to create the biggest surprise of the Men's Junior WCh.
Slovakia finally reached their first win of the tournament, in Group PI in Skopje versus Tunisia (31:29). The African team had a good start, but later the strong defence and deep 6-0, produced difficulties for Tunisia. As expected, team Brazil beat Bulgaria (37:25) to win first two points in the placement round. Almost like every match of the Bulgarian team, there was no doubt who will be the winning side. Argentina didn’t express real power against Angola but claimed a 34:31 win. Without desire to show all they have in store, Argentina won with routine play.