Photo: IHF
12. Jan. 2019 23:41

Group C:

Round two for Group C at the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship opened with an historic result, as Chile claimed their second victory ever in the preliminary round of the IHF Men’s World Championship. The first came in 2017, and these recent results show Chile are taking some positive steps in development. The Pan American side were in the lead for most of the match versus Austria and finished with a commanding eight-goal victory.

The second game in Jyske Bank Boxen on Saturday saw Norway move up to four points, as they took their second win, versus Saudi Arabia. Denmark joined their fellow Scandinavians on four points when they recorded a decisive victory over African champions Tunisia in the last match of the evening.

Austria vs Chile 24:32 (15:14)

Following their difficult opening to the 26th IHF Men’s World Championship on Thursday night, Chile recovered from the clear defeat and showed their true colours against Austria when they opened round two for Group C. The Pan American side immediately took the upper hand and held it for most of the match, apart from a brief period at the end of the first half and beginning of the second when Austria saw a glimmer of hope as they claimed the lead.

Chile created their first two-goal advantage in the 10th minute, 5:3, when they had still not missed a shot. Back Emil Feuchtmann scored three of his six goals in those first 10 minutes, playing a key role in establishing his side’s confidence and improved form. For Austria, it was once against backs Nykola Bilyk and Janko Bozovic who were crucial in their team’s attack, along with wings Raul Santos and Robert Weber.

Once they opened the two-goal gap Chile held steady in front until the last two minutes of the half, when Austria overcame their clear frustration at the score line. Austria coach Patrekur Johannesson replaced his starting keeper, Kristian Pilipovic, with Nikola Marinovic, and was rewarded as Marinovic made a critical save that briefly turned the tide.

Marinovic stopped a clear chance off a wing shot in the 28th minute when the score stood at 12:14 – and with the final three goals of the half Austria pulled in front by one, 15:14, right in time for the buzzer. Weber and Bilyk scored the key goals that equalised then pulled them in front, each tallying five in the first 30 minutes.

But instead of signalling the start of a path towards the two points, the one-goal score line proved not enough for Austria. Five minutes into the second half, Chile had reclaimed the lead, 19:17, and by the 40th, held a 22:18 advantage. Chile increased the distance to 26:20 with 10 minutes remaining, before Austria managed to slow their opponents’ scoring. However, the European side had significant trouble against Chile goalkeeper Felipe Barrientos and could not convert their own opportunities.

At the final whistle, it was Chile who celebrated the victory and two points. Their back Erwin Feuchtmann was awarded hummel player of the match following his nine goals.

Statements after the match:

Patrekur Johannesson, coach Austria: What can I say? I’m very disappointed. We went in to the half-time break with a one-goal lead and I had a good feeling about the second. We scored the first goal but what happened after that, I have to analyse. We played very badly from every position. It was not good.

Chile were quicker, faster and in the end they played better. It’s difficult but sport is like that. Sometimes you have games like that, but these 25 minutes in the second half were not good. It’s difficult but so is life. We have to keep our work. The next game will not be easier – against Norway and then after that Denmark. I have a young team, also injuries, but that is no excuse. When I lose, I don’t try to find the blame on another – we have to ask ourselves what we did, but I’m very disappointed.

Mateo Garralda, coach Chile: During the last three years I fought for Chile how much I could. For us it is a really big day, because to win against any European national team is difficult, is hard. If we win at the World Championship, it’s amazing. Of course I am really happy, but it’s just the second game. We have to be cool, we have to be calm. But in this minute, we have to enjoy this result – you can’t imagine.

Nikola Bilyk, player Austria: Congratulations to Chile. They played really, really good today. What we did was not enough to win this game. They just wanted more today. I can only congratulate them, and we have to focus now on the next games. It’s going to be difficult, but we have to keep going and give our best and do our best to win the next games. It’s going to be tough but that’s our job and I hope we can do it better next time.

Marco Oneto, player Chile: I give thanks to the Austrian team. All of them were really a gentleman team playing, a professional team. It was really tough for us. I will not speak about the technical stuff as anyone can have their own opinion of that. For us, it’s something that you can only imagine. Our reality is really hard. Our goals are really difficult to reach. So for us it’s an amazing, spectacular result. Our reality in Chile is totally amateur. We have to fight not only against our reality but also against our economy, insurance of health, transport problems, places for training – anything that you can imagine. So to have a win in a World Championship is just amazing.

Norway vs Saudi Arabia 40:21 (20:10)

2017 World Championship runners-up Norway collected a second set of two points after a great show of their strength versus Saudi Arabia. Norway were the favourites to win the match and after five minutes it was already clear it would take a miraculous effort from the Asian team to defeat the European powerhouse

Norway scored a huge number of fast-break goals during the 60 minutes, tallying a total of 17 at the final whistle. The first goal came off a counter attack from right back Magnus Rod, and Norway never relented, punishing every error and using goalkeeper Espen Christensen’s saves to add to their tally. It was clear the Scandinavian side were confident of a victory as coach Christian Berge opted for a different line-up from his usual starting seven, with backs Sander Sagosen and Eivind Tangen on the bench, as well as number one keeper Tobjorn Bergerud.

When the first time-out was called in the eighth minute, both sides had taken seven shots – but Norway held a 7:1 lead. Saudi Arabia relied heavily on their lead attacker, Mahdi Alsalem, who contributed seven goals – including all three when the score stood at 10:3 at the end of the first 15 minutes.

With such a confident lead, Norway had the chance to rotate their bench extensively, and 18-year-old Alexander Blonz made the most of his opportunity to shine after replacing Magnus Jondal. The young right wing scored six goals in his 45 minutes on court.

Even as the first half came to an end the teams recorded the same number of attempted shots on goal, making it clear that Christensen’s cooperation with his defence was the main difference between the sides. Norway took a 10-goal lead into the break and continued to increase the distance as the second half progressed. Saudi Arabia coach Denic Boris tried different defensive systems and changed his keepers numerous times, but Norway were simply too strong. The hummel player of the match award went to Norway’s Magnus Rod.

Statement from the match:
Christian Berge, coach Norway.

We had a plan to train on our counter attack in this game. We would like to get the game to fast and I thought we did that pretty well. We got to use some players that still hadn’t played much in the tournament, so we are very satisfied with the game.

Boris Denic, coach Saudi Arabia

I don’t have something clever to say because Norway is too strong for Saudi Arabia in this moment. That means a team can work like they want, when they have power like this. We must go to the hall and start training.

Christian O’Sullivan, player Norway

We are really happy about how the game went. We got to use a lot of our players. Everyone has contributed to this performance. We are really happy that we played a good game, did it professionally and that we got the two points.

Hassan Aljanabi, player Saudi Arabia

It was a very good opponent to play against – one of the strongest teams in the world. However, we didn’t show any of our abilities in the game. I know Norway is very strong and it is too difficult to show our abilities, however we are not satisfied. We ignore the result – we know the result is too high. However, we need to improve and to do our best and to fight so it is not happening all the time that we are playing such tough games similar to this one. We need to work hard.

Denmark vs Tunisia (19:10)

Denmark added another decisive win to the World Championship record when they closed the round in Herning on Saturday night. Everything clicked into place perfectly for the hosts, with an outstanding performance from goalkeeper and captain Niklas Landin and a particularly impressive first-half game from Rasmus Lauge leading the way to a clear advantage early on.

Landin set the tone immediately, saving Tunisia’s first attempt, and the solid defence in front of him helped keep the African champions from scoring until the ninth minute (7:1). Tunisia could not find the goal until they employed the seven-on-six tactic, taking out their keeper – but even with the additional attacker their opponents’ superb defence made it near impossible to score goals.

Just past the 10-minute mark, Denmark centre back Lauge scored what was already his fifth goal, taking his side to a 9:2 lead that had Tunisia in a dangerous position early on. Landin was exceptional, stopping penalties and clear shooting opportunities, much to the delight of the packed Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning.

Denmark were focused and efficient. Caoch Nikolaj Jacobsen made his first change in the 13th minute, and no matter how the team on court changed the quality did not drop. It took just 16 minutes for Denmark to hit a 10-goal advantage, 12:2, off right back Nikolaj Oris’ third goal. When Denmark took a 19:10 lead into the break it was clear Tunisia had a slim chance to collect the two points.

The African side returned from half-time determined, scoring the first goals and playing a stronger attacking game. But from start to finish, the match belonged to Denmark. By the 50th minute, the World Championship co-hosts held a 32:19 advantage and the match was long decided. The hummel player of the match award went to Landin.

Statements after the match:

Today it was a very hard game. We played against Denmark at home and Denmark are a big team. We started very bad, the first 15 minutes, and they took an eight- or nine-goal lead, so it would be hard for us to come back into the game. But I think it’s good that we came back in the second half and did our job. For us we come here just for the next three games against Saudi Arabia, Chile and Austria. We must win these three games and go to the next round and after we will see.

Mads Mensah, player Denmark: I think we started really good with a lot of speed. Niklas took every ball and Lauge was driving our fast breaks, so I don’t think it was that fun for Tunisia in the beginning.

We knew that they were going to play hard like always. I think they have good, heavy line players and good firepower from the two back positions, so that was our main focus.