14 Jan. 2019
They clashed several times in the Spanish league, now the Spaniards David Davis and Manolo Cadenas fight on the international stage for a Main Round spot in Monday’s Match of the Day. Davis and Egypt are already with their backs against the wall after the defeats against Sweden and Qatar in Group D in Copenhagen, while Cadenas and Argentina have one point on their tally as they drew against Hungary but suffered a tough 16:31 defeat against Sweden on Sunday night.
Cadenas used to coach the Spanish club teams Leon, Granollers and Barcelona, while Davis played for Ciudad Real and faced Cadenas several times. Besides, both coach current EHF Champions League teams, which even face in the same group – Meshkov Brest from Belarus (Cadenas) and Telekom Veszprem from Hungary (Davis).
Without their injured mastermind Diego Simonet, Argentina had to change their tactics, while Egypt showed a great defence so far, but lacks alternatives in attack. Both teams aim to make it to the Main Round. “It will be hard for us to leave three opponents behind, but if our defence works well, we have the chance to do so,” says Cadenas.
Two years ago, Egypt almost qualified for the eighth-finals and almost caused a major sensation against Croatia at this stage (19:21), while Argentina were finalist of the President’s Cup in France but lost against Poland.
After Chile had beaten Austria in Copenhagen, Argentina are out to gain the second victory for a Pan American team, while Angola (against Qatar) had been the only African side to finish a match victorious after two rounds of this this World Championship.
Group A in Berlin
In Berlin, the only two teams with a clean record of two wins – France and Germany – can make a huge step towards the Main Round. First, Germany face Russia, later, France lock horns with Korea. In the first match of round 3, Serbia (1 point) face Brazil (0 points) in a highly crucial encounter for the main round tickets.
“Russia will be the strongest opponent we have faced so far,” says German coach Christian Prokop. “But we are full of optimism.” Again, more than 13,000 fans will support the co-hosts, who had easy-going matches so far against Brazil and Korea, while the Russians tied with Serbia and beat Korea.
The biggest question about the French team is when Nikola Karabatic will be part of the official squad. Three months after a foot operation he had his first training session with France on Sunday night.
Group B in Munich:
The Balkan clash of two undefeated teams is the highlight of round 3 in Munich. Croatia and FYR Macedonia duel in the race for the main round. Croatia has beaten Iceland and Japan, while the Macedonians had two easy-going and victorious intercontinental encounters against Bahrain and Japan. The winner of this duel is almost through to the Main Round. A great atmosphere is expected as both countries have a huge and vociferous support in Munich.
After two unlucky defeats against Croatia and Spain, Iceland are under pressure already against Bahrain – the duel of two Icelandic-born coaches. It was Gudmundur Gudmundsson (now Iceland) of all people who had steered Bahrain to the silver medal at the Asian Championships in 2018 to book the ticket for GER/DEN 2019, before he returned to his home country and his fellow countryman Aron Kristjansson took over in Bahrain. The physically stronger Vikings are expected to be the favourites, as well as Spain (4 points like the Croats and Macedonians) in the match against Japan. Japan’s Icelandic-born coach Dagur Sigurdsson celebrated his biggest success against Spain in 2016, when he was German coach, beating the Iberians in the EURO final in Krakow, Poland.
Group C in Herning:
The biggest questions on Monday in Herning will be how Austria cope with the surprising 24:32 defeat against Chile and whether the South Americans will continue on the winners’ way. Host Denmark have the easiest task ahead as they face Saudi-Arabia. Austria had not been a big challenge for Norway at the 2018 EHF EURO in Croatia, the Norwegians had two commanding wins so far and netted in an average of 37 goals against Tunisia and Saudi-Arabia. Therefore, the Scandinavians are the favourites again.
Chile want to show the world in their duel with Tunisia that their deserved win over Austria was no one-hit wonder. Currently Tunisia (like the Saudis) are on zero points, two points below their opponents, who are equal with Austria. Another defeat of the African runners-up would be the end of all hopes for the Main Round.
Group D in Copenhagen:
Sweden can become the first team to qualify for the Main Round, if they beat Angola and Argentina do not beat Egypt. The Swedes are the only side with an unbeaten record of four points in this group – and they are definitely the favourites against the African bronze medallists, who had surprised Qatar in their opener. In the remaining match in the Royal Arena, the winner of Hungary vs Qatar can make a huge step towards Herning and the Main Round. Qatar had quickly recovered from the defeat against Angola, while Hungary are still unbeaten after the draw against Argentina and the clear victory against Angola.