ROUND REVIEW: Russia, Denmark, Germany and Korea proceed to the semi-finals of Women’s Junior World Championship in Croatia
At least one European team certain to make final
Wednesday’s quarter-finals at the Women’s Junior World Championship in Croatia saw three clear wins alongside a Hitchcock thriller which culminated in three European teams reaching the semi-finals.
Denmark (against France), Russia (against Netherlands) and Korea (against Romania) were clearly dominant in Koprivnica, while the duel Hungary vs Germany was decided by a last second goal from Germany’s Sina Namat.
“Simply incredible,” was the first reaction of German head coach Thorsten Schmid: “It was unbelievable how we turned the match around in the final stages. I am so proud to coach a team like this.”
Germany were down 11:15 at one stage before bringing the game level at 17:17. Hungary forged ahead to 19:18 and had possession of the ball with one minute to play.
However, after a pair of quick-fire goals to make it 20:19, the Germans danced on the court after the final whistle, completing a huge turnaround over the last 12 months - at last summer’s Women’s 19 EHF EURO Germany had finished tenth position, while Hungary were silver medallists. On Friday, Germany will face Korea, the only non-European team left fighting for the title.
European U19 champions Russia had again proved their ambitions with a powerful 43:33 win against the Dutch.
The contest was effectively over after only 13 minutes, when the score was 13:3, later, Russia played like a machine despite allowing the entire squad to play.
“I don’t believe that any team can beat us here in Croatia,” head coach Vjatscheslav Kirilenko said, full of confidence not only with the result, but the way Russia has dominated the tournament to date.
However, their highest hurdle to the winners’ podium is ahead in the semi-final on Friday, in the repeat of the 2012 Youth World Championship Final and the semi-final of the U19 EHF EURO 2013 against Denmark.
The Danes, European bronze medallists and reigning Youth World Champions, were in no mood for a close battle with France, as they won 36:26 after taking a seven-goal lead at half-time.
“Our performance in the first half, mainly in attack, was outstanding. This team is growing day by day and we do not fear our next opponent,” said Danish coach Heine Eriksson. His players had decided the match at the break, France were simply overran by counter attacks and hit hard by rockets from the back court.
Romania, fifth ranked at the 2013 U19 EHF EURO and 2012 semi-finalists at the Youth World Championship, could not take profit of their physical advantage in height and power in the only intercontinental quarter-final. The shorter but fast Koreans were unstoppable, winning in style by 36:27 (12:10).
Romania now will face Hungary in their first match of the 5-8 placement round, while the Dutch play against France. In the first day of the 9 - 16 placement round, all four victors were from Europe: Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia and Norway.
Denmark - France 36:26 (20:13)
Placement round 9-16, day 1:
Czech Republic - Brazil 27:26 (14:14)
Match schedule for semi-finals and placement rounds - all matches streamed live on the official event website. www.u20.info
Friday, 11 July in Koprivnica:
18:30 hrs. local time: Denmark vs Russia
20:45 hrs. local time: Korea vs Germany
The winners face on Sunday (16:30 hrs. local time) in the final, while the losers compete for the bronze medal at 14:00 hrs. in Koprivnica.
Placement round 5- 8:
Friday, 11 July in Koprivnica:
14:00 hrs. local time: France vs Netherlands
16:15 hrs. local time: Romania vs Hungary
The winners of those matches will meet in the 5/6 placement match on Sunday (11:00 hrs. local time), while the losers compete in the 7/8 match at 9:00 hrs. local time on Sunday - both matches will be played in Koprivnica.
Placement round 9 - 16:
Thursday, 10 July in Dugo Selo:
14:00 hrs. local time: Brazil vs Sweden
16:00 hrs. local time: Portugal vs Slovenia
The winners fight for the positions 13/14, while the losers are part of the placement match 15/16 - both on Saturday (14:00 and 16:00 hrs. local time) in Dugo Selo.
18:00 hrs. local time: Czech Republic vs Croatia
20:00 hrs. local time: Serbia vs Norway
The winners fight for the positions 9/10, the losers face for the positions 11/12, both on Saturday (18:00 and 20:00 hrs. local time).
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
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