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21.01.2017, 09:16
13 European teams reach Last 16 of World Championship 2017
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REVIEW: Poland are the only European squad to have to play the Presidents Cup at France 2017, while five of this weekend's Last 16 encounters will feature all-European encounters
 

13 European teams reach Last 16 of World Championship 2017

13 out of 14 European squads that started at the Men's World Championship 2017 in France have progressed from the preliminary round and made their way to the tournament's Last 16.

The only team to miss the knock-out stages are World Championship 2015 bronze medallists Poland.

The side of head coach Talant Dujshebaev, who had to replace many of his regular stalwarts because of injury, lost four of their five matches. The decisive loss eventually came on 14 January when they lost 28:24 against Brazil who went on to qualify as fourth-ranked team from Group A.

Except for Belarus, all European teams had confirmed their spot in the Last 16 at the latest after their penultimate match day in the preliminary round.

Belarus had lost their opening game against Chile 32:28, but eventually made it to the Last 16 with a 27:25 victory against Hungary on Friday night.

The four group winners – hosts and current world champions France in Group A, EHF EURO 2016 finalists and 2013 world champions Spain in Group B, EHF EURO 2016 champions Germany in Group C and Olympic champions Denmark in Group D – have reached the knockout stages with the maximum of five wins from five games.

Besides the aforementioned teams, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, Iceland, Croatia, Hungary and Sweden have also clinched their berth for the Last 16.

Because of the encounters there, at least five European teams will definitely reach the quarter-finals as Norway face FYR Macedonia, France play Iceland, Russia are up against Slovenia (all on Saturday 21 January) and Hungary meet Denmark while Sweden clash with Belarus (both on Sunday).

The three remaining encounters are Croatia vs Egypt, Germany vs Qatar and Spain vs Brazil.

The quarter-finals will be played on Tuesday 24 January.

After 60 matches in the preliminary round, FYR Macedonia' Kiril Lazarov leads the top scorer ranking with 44 goals ahead of Amine Bannour (TUN/34) and Uwe Gensheimer (GER/33).

In terms of fan attendance the event is a success already: The matches so far attracted more than 300,000 spectators, including 15,609 fans for the opening match France vs Brazil – the biggest attendance for a handball match in France.

However, already this Saturday this record will be broken as 28,000 fans are expected to flock to the Lille football arena for the France vs Iceland match.

Photos: France Handball 2017


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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