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World Championship

Serbia down Slovenia with memorable performance

20221106 AH 3577 2 EHF / Adrian Costeiu

ROUND REVIEW: Serbia shocked Slovenia with a 34:31 win on a night when Europe’s powerhouses left little to chance in the first leg of part 2 of Qualification Phase 2 for the Poland-Sweden 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship.

In the most balanced game of the evening, Serbia took a huge leap to secure a Poland/Sweden 2023 berth by beating Slovenia in one of their best showings in recent years.

The Czech Republic mounted a hugely impressive comeback late in the match to earn a 24:24 draw, against North Macedonia, in Xavi Sabate’s debut as coach.

While Hungary had their work cut out against Israel, winning 33:32 with a late comeback, Germany and Croatia didn’t miss a beat in taking impressive wins against the Faroe Islands and Finland.

The biggest shock of the evening came in Chalkida, as Greece sealed a 25:23 win against Montenegro, despite failing to score a goal in the last 10 minutes. As Montenegro are trying to make a return to the World Championship for the first time since 2013, they will need to cancel Greece’s lead in the second leg, scheduled in Podgorica for Sunday.

On Thursday Portugal host the Netherlands, aiming to join Poland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Norway, Spain, and Belgium at the World Championship.

Austria vs Iceland 30:34 (13:18)

  • a pair of goals from wings Odinn Thor Rikhardsson and Bjarki Mar Elisson helped Iceland create a 6:2 run between the 17th and 25th minutes, which proved crucial in setting up the win
  • in the first 37 minutes, Elisson was flawless for Iceland, scoring 11 goals from 11 shots, his best outing for Iceland men’s national team since June 2019, when he scored 11 times against Turkey in the EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Phase
  • the main difference in the game was the attacking output, with Iceland converting 71 per cent of their attacks, while Austria could not pass the 55 per cent mark, despite backs Mykola Bilyk and Boris Zivkovic scoring six goals each
  • this was Iceland’s biggest win against Austria since January 2014, when they won, 33:27, at the EHF EURO 2014
  • Austria will have a mountain to climb in the second leg of the doubleheader if they are to secure the third consecutive IHF Men’s World Championship berth for the first time in history

Finland vs Croatia 21:34 (9:16)

  • after he made his debut at the EHF EURO 2022, scoring five goals in seven matches, right-wing Filip Glavas had a superb match for Croatia, putting eight goals past Finland
  • Croatia tied their largest-ever win in the Qualification Phase of the IHF Men’s World Championship, set in June 2018, 32:19, against Montenegro
  • Finland lost a home game in the Qualification Phase of the IHF Men’s World Championship by 13 goals for the third time, tying their worst-ever home result, set against Russia, 22:35, in October 2017 and against Romania, 21:34, in January 2016
  • after helping Finland qualify for the part 2 of the Qualification Phase 2 of the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship, goalkeeper Mikael Mäkelä had another good outing, with 16 saves, for a 34.7 per cent saving efficiency
  • Croatia, who won five medals at the IHF Men’s World Championship, including gold in 2003, edged closer of their 15th consecutive participation in the competition, just behind the longest streaks of Spain and France

Israel vs Hungary 32:33 (18:17)

  • in the official debut of new coach Chema Rodriguez, Hungary led for the first 15 minutes, but Israel’s impressive attack left them without an answer in the first half, which concluded with a one-goal lead for Israel, 18:17
  • Hungary built their win on a 5:1 run between the 37th minute and the 40th minute, as Israel failed to match the attacking output
  • despite losing, Israel registered one of their best results of the last decade, keeping Hungary, the fifth place from the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship, in check throughout the whole game
  • Israel’s 19-year-old right wing, Nadav Cohen, had a career-best night against Hungary, scoring nine times, his best-ever output for the national team in an official game
  • Hungary registered their fifth win in six games against Israel and will be favoured to make the final tournament in Poland and Sweden in January 2023, with the second leg set to be played in Tatabanya on Saturday

Germany vs Faroe Islands 34:26 (17:11)

  • jumping to an early 10:5 lead, Germany relied heavily on their defence, stopping Faroese prodigy Elias Ellefsen a Skipagotu, who missed the first four shots and made two technical errors in the first 13 minutes
  • German goalkeeper Andreas Wolff, who saved 18 shots for a 41.8 per cent saving efficiency, outclassed the Faroese goalkeepers, Pauli Jacobsen and Nicholas Satchwell, who saved only five shots between them
  • this was Faroe’s largest loss in competitive matches since 25:36 against Lithuania in January 2020, in the Qualification Phase 1 of the 2021 World Championship
  • Germany had 13 outfield players scoring at least one goal against the Faroe Islands, with right-wing Tobias Reichmann being the only outfield player who did not open his account
  • the hosts will be favoured to progress to the World Championship for the 13th consecutive time, while Faroe, who progressed for the first time at this stage of the Qualification Phase, will be eager to improve more

Greece vs Montenegro 25:23 (15:10)

  • a 10:3 Greek run between the 19th and the 33rd minute was the backbone of their win, as Montenegro’s attacking efficiency dipped to 48 per cent at half-time
  • powered by eight goals from left-wing Milos Vujovic, Montenegro mounted an impressive comeback in the last ten minutes to cut the gap to only two goals, 25:23
  • Greece’s attacking efficiency dipped from 66 per cent in the first half to only 57 per cent at the end of the game, as the hosts failed to score a goal in the last 10 minutes of the game
  • Montenegro’s goalkeeper, Nebojsa Simic, continued his superb run of form from EHF EURO 2022, saving 14 shots for a 36.8 per cent saving efficiency
  • Greece will travel to Montenegro with the aim of protecting their two-goal lead on Sunday in the second leg, positioning themselves to secure their second-ever berth for the IHF Men’s World Championship

Slovenia vs Serbia 31:34 (16:20)

  • a 7:1 run inspired by a pair of goals from right wing Bogdan Radivojevic, line player Mijailo Marsenic and left back Petar Djordjic helped Serbia build a five-goal lead late in the first half
  • as Slovenian goalkeepers Joze Baznik and Klemen Ferlin made only one save between them, Serbia had their best first half in the Qualification Phase of the IHF Men’s World Championship since putting 25 goals past the Faroe Islands in January 2018
  • fresh after scoring 14 goals for Benfica in the Last 16 phase of the EHF European League Men, left-back Petar Djordjic was once again the best scorer of his team, putting eight goals past Slovenia
  • this was the first win for Serbia against Slovenia in competitive matches since 2015, when they had secured a 23:15 home win in the Qualification Phase 2 of the World Championship, but conceded a 44:48 aggregate loss
  • Serbia had previously scored 33 goals or more in a game in the EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Phase, in June 2019, in a 37:26 win against Belgium
  • Slovenia’s challenge to qualify for the 10th time in history at the World Championship took a heavy blow, while Serbia are on track to qualify for the fifth time in the last six editions of the competition

Czech Republic vs North Macedonia 24:24 (10:13)

  • in Xavi Sabate’s debut as the Czech Republic national team’s coach, the hosts could only score two goals in the first 13 minutes of the game
  • the guests’ hot start in both halves, 5:1 in the first part and 4:o in the second part, looked to be the backbone of their win in Zlin, only for the hosts to finish the game with an impressive 4:0 run of their own to tie the score for the first time, with nine seconds to go
  • Kiril Lazarov, North Macedonia’s coach, who also played as a right-back, was once again instrumental for his team, scoring four times, but missed the last two shots
  • Czech goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva worked wonders between the goalposts, saving 18 shots for a 43.9 per cent saving efficiency, as North Macedonia failed to score in the last five minutes and 42 seconds of the game
  • North Macedonia have already eliminated the Czech Republic in a previous edition of the Qualification Phase of the World Championship, taking a 56:55 aggregate win, with a 34:27 win in Skopje in June 2016

 

 

 

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