The fourth day of competition at the 10th World Cadet Championship brought us a lot of excitement. The surprises of the day, but also of the entire competition, were prepared by the handball players of the Faroe Islands in the last match of the day in Opatija. With a 34:31 victory against Sweden, they advanced to the second round, and sent that team to the President’s Cup. This has probably never happened to the Swedes in history. All other favorites won and went on. Among them, of course, is the host Croatia, who easily beat Portugal 38:27. After this round, 48 games are behind us. Tomorrow is a free day, and the second round, that is, the President Cup, starts on Monday.
VARAZDIN: GROUPS A and B
Morocco and New Zealand fought for the first points at the 10th World Cadet Championship in Varazdin Arena on the fourth day of the competition. The role of favorites was on the side of the Moroccans. And they fully justified it. After they opened the match with 4:0, by the middle of the first half they managed to create a difference of 11 goals (13:2). At halftime, it was plus 14 (21:7).
In the second half, both coaches rotated their lineups, so the pace was somewhat slower. But not the number of goals. It ended with a convincing victory for Morocco (43:18), a record when it comes to their performances at the World Championships. With 12 goals, Ouahib Ilyasse was by far the best on the field. For New Zealand, Paul Pringot scored 7 goals.
Although five African national teams participate in the World Championship and almost half of the tournament is already played, the match between Algeria and Rwanda was the first between national teams from that part of the world. As expected, it was very interesting and exciting. It was a match where mutual prestige was almost more important than points. Rwanda led in the first 9 minutes. Then Algeria took the lead and remained in the lead until the end. At halftime, they had five goals (18:13), six at the end (33:27). With 21 saves, Algerian goalkeeper Achiche Sid Ali was the most dominant figure in the match. On the other hand, Rwanda’s first scorer was Samuel Mbesutunguwe.
The last two matches of the day in Varazdin were treats. Slovenia and Hungary were the first to enter the arena. It was a clash for the 1st place in group B, that is, who will transfer the two points. The Hungarians started the match somewhat slowly and relatively easily allowed Slovenia to take the lead 8:5 in the 11th minute. Four minutes later, the Slovenians still had a plus three (14:11). And then they fell into a crisis, which the Hungarians made great use of. They scored 4 goals in a row, kicked out an important defensive player Lucijan Korošec from the game (direct red card) and took the lead 14:11. But they did not last. The Slovenians made a great comeback in the game, and the first half ended with 14:14.
We saw an extremely big fight in the second half. However, Hungary had more players in the mood for a tough fight. Although they were also without one player due to Robin Molnar’s red card, they held on until the end and won 29:25. Thus, they transferred two points to the second round. Slovenia also goes further, but without points. The best individuals of the match were Kristof Csorgo with 8 and Malik Mlivić 6 goals.
The match between Croatia and Portugal decided who will be the first one, that is, who takes the points. It was a big stake. The Croatian handball players started a little uncertainly. But they quickly stabilized the whole game and took control of the result. In the 9th minute, they were up by three (7:4). The best period in their game was from the 18th to the 22nd minute when they scored five goals in a row and went seven goals ahead. It was the same at the end of the first part at 19:12.
And already after six minutes, they were ten goals ahead (25:15). So they forced the Portuguese coach to ask for a 1-minute break very early on. It didn’t help, because our team didn’t even think of pulling the trigger, regardless of the fact that the coach changed a large part of the team. It ended 38:27, that is, according to the wishes, because two points are transferred. Vito Glivetić and Aleksandar Čaprić scored 8 goals each. The best of the Portuguese was Tiago Sousa with 7 goals.
KOPRIVNICA: GROUPS C and D
Japan and the Czech Republic played a very interesting match. In the end, the European national team celebrated and thus secured the placement in the second round. Japan again remained “short-sleeved”, although, like in the two previous cases, they were very close to the victory. Against the Czech Republic, they led for less than 40 minutes and then squandered everything at the end. After the first half, they had a two-goal lead (15:13). Then the Czech Republic took control of the result. But Japan did not give up and in the 46th minute they had three more goals than the Czech Republic (22:19). It seemed that the victory could not escape them. But the Czech Republic managed to make a 6:1 series in the next 6 minutes, and regain the lead (25:23). In the final five minutes, Japan completely collapsed physically, and the Czech Republic used that for the second victory in the tournament, that is, passage to the second round.
Looking on paper before the World Campionship, Egypt and Iceland should have decided in the last match of Group C about who will be the first and transfer two points. But the others were also asked, especially the Czech Republic, which beat Iceland on the first day and practically left it without a chance for the second round. Egypt, on the other hand, with two victories, had already guaranteed a place in the second round and didn’t need to spend too much energy against Iceland. But the sports motive guided them and kept them in the match until the end.
Iceland got off to a great start and took the lead 8:3. In the middle of the first part, they were still five goals apart (11:6). Egypt wasn’t too worried. Only at the end of the first half did they play as they know how. With four goals in a row they came to minus one and at the half time the result was 15:14. With a new big streak at the beginning of the second half of five goals in a row, they took control of the result. Iceland responded with the same measure, so in the 47th minute we were at the beginning (21:21). Aggressiveness on both sides exploded in those moments, so two Egyptian and one Icelandic player received red cards.
We had the last tie in the match in the 52nd minute. After that, Egypt makes a series of three goals and practically solves the question of the winner. It ended 33:30. Ziad Hashad with 6 goals was the best for the winner and Thor Reynir Stefansson was the first name of Iceland with 9 goals. At that moment, Iceland was the first European team to miss the second round.
And the match between Brazil and Bahrain decided the passenger to the second round. So it’s not surprising that we’ve seen a lot of excitement and changes in leadership there as well. Brazil played the first 20 minutes very well. At that moment, they had a 10:6 lead. But then Bahrain takes off and with four goals in a row, the tie is reached. However, Brazil went into the break with a minimal advantage of 14:13. And so it was until entering the last ten minutes. Brazil definitely broke the match with a series of three goals and going to five points (23:18) in the 51st minute. In the end, they celebrated with six and passed to the second round. Two Vinicius – Perin and Bertoldo scored 5 goals each for Brazil. One goal more was given by the best player of Bahrain, Mohamed Ali.
Spain also confirmed their class against South Korea. In just six and a half minutes, they took a 5:1 lead and sent a clear message to the Koreans. Abandon all hope, the victory is ours. They had the biggest difference in the 19th minute when they were up by nine goals (15:6). Then they relaxed a bit, and with a series of five goals, Korea came to an acceptable minus four (15:11). In the end, Spain took a five-goal lead into the break (17:12).
In the second half, we saw the Spaniards in their true element. Fast, scattered, playful. In those 30 minutes, they scored 21 goals. The Koreans scored two less than in the first half, so the final difference of 16 goals is a picture of the quality of those two teams. With 7 goals, Xavier Unciti Gonzalez was the most effective for the Spaniards. Korea had two players with 4 goals each – Mingi Son and Jinhyeok Moon.
RIJEKA: GROUPS E and F
The day in Rijeka started with another derby of two last placed national teams. Chile and Mexico were playing for each other’s prestige, because both national teams had already squandered the opportunity to advance to the second round. In such situation, the slightly more experienced Chile team won the first half, and Mexico the second half. But Mexico was still unable to make up for the 7-goal difference after the first half. It ended 30:28 for Chile, who will thus go to the upper house of the President’s Cup, and Mexico remains in the fight for the position from 25th to 32nd place. Fernando Castillo was the best Chilean with 7 goals. The Mexicans had two heroes – goalkeeper Alejandro Christian Molina Tajeda who had 15 saves, and Juan Humberto Anguiano Lopez who scored 8 goals.
Denmark easily defeated Austria and rounded off the 100 percent streak. After about twenty minutes of goal-for-goal play or the Danes’ advantage of two or three goals, the real explosion of the most successful country in the history of the World Cadet Championships came in the last five minutes of the first half. That’s when they connected five goals in a row and went to the break with 21:15. They kept their advantage until the end of the third quarter. And then in just five minutes they scored 7 goals in a row again and solved the question of the winner. In the end, they scored 43 goals and received 28. Denmark’s first scorer was Emil Frederik Pedersen with 8 goals. Austrians were led by Elmar Bohm with five.
North Macedonia, after a difficult and exhausting match against Montenegro, found strength and won against Georgia, thus advancing to the second round. The Macedonians imposed their rhythm of the game from the beginning and left nothing to chance. By halftime, they built a three-goal lead. And then from the middle of the second half they slowly raised it to the final plus six (27:21). Damjan Subashevski and Nenad Belistojanovski scored 6 goals each. On the other side, Sandro Darsania was the best with 9 goals.
Norway jumped over the third obstacle towards the second round with half strength. Montenegro simply could not keep up with the killer rhythm of the fast game and the fast break of the Norwegians and fell behind very early: at the end of the first half, they found themselves in a deficit of 12 goals (22:10). The second half brought them new headaches, because the Norwegians continued to play as if it was the final of the World Championship. In the end, they stopped at 41 goals. The Montenegrins reached number 22. Lasse Sunde Sid with 7 and Milorad Bakić with 4 goals were the best scorers.
OPATIJA: GROUPS G and H
The Opatija handball day was opened by Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Saudis were looking for a victory for eventual passage to the second round, while the Americans were looking for the first point(s). In the end, the handball players of Saudi Arabia rejoiced. A lot of things were clear from the very beginning. Namely, the Saudis scored 8 goals in 8 minutes and made it clear to the Americans that they don’t have many chances. At the break, the score was 22:7. Only one goal less was scored by the Saudi Arabian national team in the second half. The Americans remained at the same number (7). So the final score was 43:14. Hussain Furail scored as many as 15 goals. Few can boast of that so far in the Championship. Benjamin Edwards was the first American name with 5 goals.
Germany continued their winning streak against Argentina. And with three smooth victories, +11 against S. Arabia, +31 USA, and +11 against Argentina, they sovereignly won group G. Objectively, it was also the easiest group of this World Championship, without a single European team. Germany entered the match with 4:0. Argentina scored the first goal after less than 10 minutes of play (after 9 minutes and 42 seconds). At the end of the first half, Germany led 13:5. In the second half, with numerous rotations, they scored 14 more goals and reached an easy victory. German goalkeepers had a total of 16 saves. Fritz Haake was the most effective with 6 goals. Tobias Ojea Cristino scored 5 goals for Argentina.
Iran had no difficulty with Burudni. Already in the first half, the weakest defense in the Championship, which conceded 115 goals after two rounds, capitulated 24 times. The Iranians didn’t bother too much about it. They played their game and in the end convincingly celebrated 46:24 and thus confirmed their passage to the second round along with Saudi Arabia as the second team from Asia. Which is a great achievement.
The final match in Opatija brought us a showdown between Sweden and the Faroe Islands. Both of them won against Burundi. Sweden played to a draw with Iran and had a point more. And that means only one thing, that the winner of this match “takes it all”. And when that’s the case, pressure is a very inconvenient thing. And it seems that the players of the Faroe Islands felt it less. They had a steady rhythm from the beginning, without big ups and downs. And they led until the last minute of the first half. Sweden equalized 14:14 six seconds before the end of time. And that meant only one thing, that the “beauty” of the Championship was waiting for us in the second half.
And so it was. Faroe Islanders led until the 42nd minute. Then the advantage briefly went to the Swedish side. But the end was still far away. The small island nation managed to connect three goals in a row at one point, which was a rarity in the match, and took the lead (27:25). The nervousness on the Swedish bench was more and more obvious. The Faroe Islands, on the other hand, continued to score from all positions and in the end celebrated 34:31, i.e. one of the biggest victories in their cadet history. It goes without saying that this is the biggest sensation and the news of the day. They go to the second round, and Sweden to the President’s Cup, something that probably has never happened to them.