The penultimate day of the 10th World Cadet Championship in the Varazdin Arena was opened by playoff matches for the 5th to 8th place. They are usually the most difficult to play because they come only 24 hours, for some even less, after big disappointments due to defeat in the quarter finals, they don’t decide on anything, and they have to be played.
The penultimate day of the competition is fondly remembered by the Portuguese and Germans, because they celebrated against the Faroe Islands and Norway. And it is always nicer to close the championship with a victory than with a defeat.
After that, the Arena field was occupied by the semi-finalists. As expected, the matches were real handball treats. Here’s a quick overview:
SEMI-FINAL: DENMARK – EGYPT 39:35
The match between Denmark and Egypt was eagerly awaited by many. On one side, the defending champion handball players from the land of the Pharaohs, on the other, the most successful national team in the history of the World Cadet Championships.
Unfortunately, in the first serious attack, Egypt lost the team’s third scorer, Mohamed Elbataw, who broke his thumb and the game was over for him. And that was very much felt in the game. Denmark seemed forceful. They had an answer to every defense that the Egyptians would put up, and even that of pressing all over the field. In the middle of the first half, they left Egypt without a goal for six minutes, raised their advantage first to 4, and a little later to 6 points and brought the half to the end without major problems (23:18). The very fact that they scored 23 goals in 30 minutes against Egypt seems frightening.
On the wings of that self-confidence, they dominated the field in the second half. The Egyptian coach changed everything he could. At the end of the match, when they came close to minus four, pressing came into play again, but the fast, mobile Danes found a cure for that and in the end celebrated 39:35. Zabili su gotovo 40 golova i imali 68 posto konverzije. Miraculously. Denmark has been in the World Cup final three times so far and became the world champion each time. Will this tradition continue in Croatia?
SEMI-FINAL: CROATIA – SPAIN 29:37
Croatia opened their sixth semi-final of the World Championships with a bang. Little by little, Croatia built their advantage and at the end of the first quarter they were at plus three (8:5). At that moment, the Spanish bench called a one-minute break and turned the game around. The Croatian handball players lost a lot of energy after that, and Spain took advantage of that in the last ten minutes of the first half. They made a streak of 1:8 and took a good plus four to the break (11:15).
It was a hopeful result. But unfortunately the hope was short lived. Spain continued to play in the same extremely fast rhythm, which our handball players could not follow, and the Spaniards slowly increased their advantage. In the 36th minute, they already had six goals. A little later, they were up eight, so that everything would be clear when they went up nine in the 50th minute (22:31). At the end of the match, the game was played without defenses, the so-called run and gun handball, so in the end it ended with a convincing victory for the Spaniards by eight goals (29:37). Petar Krupić was the best in the Croatian ranks with 9 goals. Aleksandar Čaprić scored seven goals. At Furia, Xavier Gonzalez Unciti had a phenomenal day, scoring 11 goals from 11 attempts. Spain thus reached its third final, and Denmark its fourth. It is worth mentioning that the Spaniards have lost both so far, and the Danes have won all three. We will find out whose tradition continues on sunday at 8:00 PM. Before that, Croatia and Egypt will play for bronze at 6:00 PM.
PLAYOFF FOR 5TH TO 8TH PLACE: PORTUGAL – FAROE ISLANDS 41:40 (7m) 35:35
We watched excellent handball in the match between Portugal and the Faroe Islands. And they had a dramatic ending worthy of a movie. The winner was decided by 7-meter throws. But let’s go in order. The smallest country participating in the World Championship and one of the most pleasant surprises dominated for the full 40 minutes. The Portuguese were admittedly in the lead several times, but only with a goal difference. At halftime it was 19:17 for the Faroe Islands. In the second half, they raised their advantage to plus four in the 39th minute (24:20), although they were without one of the their best players, Rokur Ziskason, who suffered an ankle injury. They looked to be in complete control of the match after all. But Portugal has already shown several times in Varazdin that it has 9 lives. With a series of 4 goals, they reached a tie, and then took the lead 26:25. In the 45th minute, they were up by three (30:27). But the end was still far away. Two and a half minutes before the end, Portugal led 35:33. And they didn’t last because the handballers of Faroe Islands scored two goals in the last 60 seconds and tied the game at 35:35.
In the 7-meter throws shootout, Portugal missed two out of three shots at the beginning, and The islanders scored all of them. But then in the fourth series they hit the post, and in the fifth the Portuguese goalkeeper saved Isak Vedelsbol’s shot and everything went back to the beginning (39:39). So the series of 7-meter throws shootout had to continue. The decision was made only in the eighth series. Once again, the Portuguese hero was the goalkeeper Gonsalo Morgado, who stopped Jakup Egholm’s attempt and thus ensured a great celebration for his national team. By the way, with 9 goals, the best Portuguese player was Tiago Sousa. Two players from the Faroe Islands scored 12 goals each. They were the aforementioned Isak Vedelsbol and the best scorer of the World Championship, Oli Mittun.
PLAYOFF FOR 5TH TO 8TH PLACE: GERMANY – NORWAY 35:30
The match between Germany and Norway was far from the pace they usually play at. It looked like the heroes were a bit tired, because it was their seventh match in 9 days. And there was also a transfer from Rijeka or Opatija to Varazdin. However, Germany showed a little more in the first half. And their led from start to finish: their biggest advantage was 4 goals (15:11). However, with a good finish, the Norwegians reduced all that to just one goal (16:15).
Two exclusions of German players opened the way for the Norwegians to take the lead. And they kept the lead until the 40th minute, when they fell into a bottomless hole. Germany made an incredible streak of ten goals in a row, which rarely happens at this level of the competition, and settled the question of the winner. It ended with 35:30, and it could have been more if Emir Kurtagić’s team had not slowed down in the very end. Frederik Holer had 14 saves in the German goal. With 8 goals, Marvin Siemer was the best scorer and player of the match. Lasse Sunde Lid scored one more goal on the other side.