Group C: Chile defeat Saudi Arabia; await main round fate

17 Jan. 2019

Group C: Chile defeat Saudi Arabia; await main round fate

Round five for Group C at the 26th IHF Men’s Handball World Championship opened with another historic result for Chile, who recorded their second win in the preliminary round in Herning, this time versus Saudi Arabia. It is the first time ever that the Pan American team have won two preliminary round matches, after taking their maiden victory in this stage at the 2017 World Championship.

With the win, Chile moved up to four points on the table, joining Tunisia. The Pan American team now await the result of the upcoming Tunisia versus Austria match, which will decide the main round ticket that could still go to any of the three teams.

Chile vs Saudi Arabia 32:27 (21:13)

It was a game in which both coaches relied heavily on their starting line-ups, with only 13 players making their way onto the score board during the 60 minutes. Chile were quick to take the upper hand and steamed ahead to a decisive advantage, but they had to withstand a comeback from Saudi Arabia in the second period in order to claim the two points.

Chile build a lead as large as eight goals on the path to their historic win, despite a great game from Saudi Arabia keeper Amro Mohammed. Chile keeper Felipe Garcia also had some bright moments, making saves on difficult shots, as the Pan American side’s defence kept their opponents well under control. However, Mohammed won the contest between the posts thanks to his 35% save rate.

After 15 minutes, Chile had begun to create the clear lead, 11:6, and they finished the half strong to earn the match-deciding difference at the break. It was a great show from the Feuchtmann brothers, Emil and Erwin. Erwin Feuchtmann tallied a total of 11 goals in the match, while Emil Feuchtmann scored five and was named the hummel player of the match.

For Saudi Arabia, Mojtaba Alsalem was the top scorer with eight goals. Abdullah Alabbas scored seven goals off seven attempts.

Chile opened the second period strong, pulling ahead to a 26:14 advantage that looked impossible for Saudi Arabia to come back from – but then the Asian side turned the momentum of the game completely. With a 10:3 partial from the 37th to 49th minute, Saudi Arabia came within five goals, 24:29.

With over 10 minutes remaining, there was still enough time for the Asian team to claim the win if they continued with their strong run – but then neither side could find the goal until the 56th. After Chile ended their opponents’ streak, they added three more goals themselves to finish with a commanding victory.

Statements after the match:
Mateo Garralda, coach Chile: It looked like an easy game, but it wasn’t. The first half was really, really good. In the second half, in offence, we created opportunities, but Saudi Arabia never gave up. Always tried to win the game.

I’m really proud of my players. Really, really, really proud because we have progressed mentally, in spirit. Now I think the team is a little bit different than two years ago.  

Boris Denic, coach Saudi Arabia: They played good, played well, especially the first half. In all our matches we played defence well, but today in the first half we did not respond very well and did not respond well to the contact in the first line with the pivot. We had very big problems and normally, Chile had a very big advantage in the first half. The second half was different.

We had our chance to come back completely in the game. We did not use this and Chile deserved to win, and I wish them everything well in the rest of the competition. Everything my friend Mateo talked about how they are working, how they are growing, how it was very difficult when he took the team three years ago – now the same job is awaiting me. I’m working with Saudi Arabia the first month. If someone is patient, maybe we can expect that Saudi Arabia, after two or three years, grows up like Chile today.