19 Jan. 2019
EHF EURO 2018 silver medallists Sweden began their 26th IHF Men’s World Championship main round campaign with a decisive win over Tunisia, thereby moving up to six points on the Group II table and leaving the African side on zero. Tunisia keeper Makrem Missaoui was the only player not to step on the court during the match, as both teams used their entire line-up during the 60 minutes – but it was Sweden’s who proved the stronger of the two as they powered to a clear win.
The loss means that Tunisia can no longer reach the semi-finals.
Tunisia vs Sweden 23:35 (14:19)
After Tunisia had the better start, Sweden fought their way to the advantage by the end of the first quarter and steadily increased their lead to a considerable 12-goal margin at the final whistle.
Sweden had some trouble finding their rhythm to begin with, and the score board showed 7:6 for Tunisia in the 11th minute when the African champions recorded 100% shooting accuracy and the Scandinavian team had just 56%. Sweden’s scoring trouble was due to the great performance from Tunisia keeper Ahmed Amine Bedoui, while at the other end of the court, Andreas Palicka did not have his best day between the posts.
Mikael Appelgren came on to replace Palicka in the 16th minute, just after his team had taken the lead off a goal from captain Niclas Ekberg, who went on to tally a total of seven goals. Ekberg was key for Sweden from the penalty line in particular, while Andreas Nilsson had a strong game at pivot, with seven goals. The goals from Nilsson highlighted troubles in Tunisia’s defence, as the back court found the line player again and again.
For Tunisia, Mosbah Sanai was again an important part of the offence, scoring their opening three goals and finishing with six to be his side’s top scorer. It was Andreas Nilsson who pulled Sweden in front to their first two-goal distance, 10:8, with his fourth goal, and by the end of the half his team had created a 19:14 lead.
The second period belonged completely to Sweden. Both teams rotated their line-up often and Tunisia changed between 6-0 and 5-1 in an effort to control the play into Nilsson, but Sweden were too strong for the African team. By the 50th minute, the EURO runners-up had created a 10-goal lead, 32:22, and were clearly on the way to their first two points of the main round.
Andreas Nilsson received the hummel player of the match award.
Statements after the match:
Kristjan Andresson, coach Sweden: It was a game with a lot of pace. For me it was the best game of all of our games in this tournament. I am very satisfied with our performance.
Antonio Gerona Salaet, coach Tunisia: We had big problems against a good defence and a great goalkeeper. We need to learn from these kinds of games. We only have a short time to recover, so we have to move on. To lose be by 10 is too much, but we have to move forward.