The final day of the 10th World Championship brought us 4 matches. Two were playoffs from 5th to 8th place, and two were for medals. In the end, Spain, who became the world champion for the first time, Denmark, whose silver is the sixth medal from these competitions, and Croatia, who won the bronze, had the most reason to celebrate.
FINAL: DENMARK – SPAIN 23:28
Spain and Denmark offered us spectacular handball in the final. The Spaniards opened it with 4:0. The Danes reached all that in the 10th minute when we had the first tie at 7:7. On the wings of the great goalkeeper Simon Meinby Lundorf four minutes later, Denmark took the lead 9:8, and confirmed the incredible strength of character. But as the end of the first part was still very far away, we saw several changes in the leadership on both sides. In the end, we can say it freely, Denmark was happier, having a one-goal difference at the break (13:14).
In the sequel, Spain dominates at the beginning, and Denmark dominates in the middle of the half. In the end, the Spaniards miraculously got up again and celebrated with a series of five goals in a row with a final score of 28:23. Tiredness overtook Denmark. In the last nine and a half minutes, they remained without a goal, and in the process made more technical errors than in some meetings in 60 minutes. A total of 19 saves were made by Spanish goalkeepers. The best scorer was Ferran Castillo Oliveras with 7 goals. The first name for Denmark was Fredrik Emil Pedersen with 6 goals.
MATCH FOR 3RD AND 4TH PLACE: CROATIA – EGYPT 39:37 (overtime) (30:30)
Croatia and Egypt played an incredible match. Everything was there. In the end, the winner was decided after extra time. But let’s go in order. Croatia opened the match like in the most beautiful dreams with 3:0. In the 10th minute, they already had 5:1, and in the 14th, a somewhat unreal 9:3. The Croatian defense was fantastic. Fast, mobile, sharp. Egypt has been looking for a counter game for that defense for a long time. And they finally found it in the middle of the first half when they scored three goals in a row and cut Croatia’s advantage in half (9:6).
But Croatia responded in the same way and restored the six-goal lead again. And then they started to lose energy, so coach Krešo Ivanković tried to find a solution with refreshments from the bench. He failed because Egypt looked great in those moments. And by the end of the break, they were only one goal behind, 18:17.
We watched the real spectacle in the second half. Egypt quickly equalized and took the lead 21:23. The Croatian team did not let them enjoy it for too long, and quickly equalized. With all that, they found a savior on the bench in the form of goalkeeper Tino Herceg. He completely drove the Egyptian attackers crazy, defended 3 seven-pointers and countless goals, and opened the way for Croatia to victory. But they had to wait for another half hour. Namely, after Croatia took the lead 30:29, and missed two attacks to increase that advantage, Egypt scored 40 seconds before the end and equalized. Croatia had enough time left for the last attack, but our players got tangled up and lost the ball. Fortunately, the Egyptians won it not in the danger zone, but in the center. But as time ran out, they got a chance from a free kick that ended up on the block. Extra time followed.
There, Croatia showed more calmness in key moments. After the first 5 minutes, they led 34:32. In the second five minutes it was 5:5, and with the final result 39:37, the bronze medal ended up around the neck of the Croatian handball players. It is the fifth medal of our handball players from those competitions: 1 gold in 2009, 2 silver in 2007, 2013, bronze in 2005, and now bronze again in 2023.
MATCH FOR 5TH AND 6TH PLACE: GERMANY – PORTUGAL 31:27
Only in the opening ten minutes of the match for 5th/6th place there was some uncertainty. Germany took the lead with 4:2, and then Portugal turned everything in their favor with a series of three goals in a row 4:5. But it was a short-lived leadership. Three minutes later, Germany was already at plus three (9:6), and did not lose that advantage until the end of the match. At the end of the first half, they had a five-goal difference (17:12).
Since they opened the second half with two new goals, the German national team practically broke the game then. Portugal did not give up, of course, they tried in every possible way to reduce the gap, and eventually, as in many matches of the knockout phase, catch the opponent sleeping and get back into the game seriously. But Germany, regardless of their youth, was experienced and cunning enough not to allow that. They kept their advantage with a goal-for-goal game and long attacks. When, seven minutes before the end, they went to a seven-goal difference, everything was clear. A little relaxation in the last four minutes was used by Portugal to reduce the deficit to four goals and improve the final result of 31:27. With 10 goals, Ben Connar Battermann was the best in the German ranks. Eduardo Leite scored 8 goals for Portugal.
The fifth place of Germany is the third best result of that national team at the World Cadet Championships. The other two are silver in 2019. and bronze in 2013. Portugal, on the other hand, reached their second best result.
MATCH FOR 7TH AND 8TH PLACE: NORWAY – FAROE ISLANDS 38:35
Norway defeated the Faroe Islands in the battle for 7th place. It was a match in which the defenses seemed to be non-existent. The attacks lasted about 20 seconds. Norway led from the beginning to the end of the match. Handball players from the Faroe Islands spent a lot of energy to follow up and reach them. Many times they came within one goal behind, but Norway did not give up. After the first part, their advantage was plus three (22:19).
In the sequel, however, the longer bench of the Norwegians ruled. The match for the Faroe Islands was played by 9 players, and Norway by 13-14 players. In addition to all that, the handball players of the smallest country that participated in this Championship, which had 13 players and two goalkeepers on the record, on the player sheet for this match had also Rokur Ziskason, a player that was injured. When Toki Fridriksson was injured during the match, the mission became even more difficult. Admittedly, at one point they had a chance to make the match uncertain when they reached minus one in the 40th minute (29:28). But by then they were already exhausted from that great rush and energy consumption, and in the end they were defeated 38:35. In the final five minutes, they tried to play seven on six, but that didn’t help either. With 11 goals, Marius Olseth was the best player of the match and the scorer of the winning team. On the other side, a great game by Oli Mittun, who also scored 11, and Isak Vedelsbol with 9 goals. With 87 goals in 8 matches, Oli Mittun became the top scorer of the 10th World Championship.
At the end of the medal distribution ceremony, the ideal team of the World Championship was announced, as well as the MVP:
Goalkeeper: Alvaro Perez Mendez (Spain)
Right wing: Xavier González Unciti (Spain)
Right back: Lasse Sunesen Vilhelmsen (Denmark)
Centre back: Oli Mittun (Faroe Islands)
Left back: Aleksandar Čaprić (Croatia)
Left wing: Belal Masoud (Egypt)
Line player: Victor Romero Holguin (Spain)
Top scorer: Oli Mittun (Faroe Islands) – 87 goals
MVP: Frederik Emil Pedersen (Denmark)