ROUND REVIEW: Russia face Korea in the Women’s Junior World Championship Final in Croatia, while Denmark and Germany fight for bronze
European champions Russia go for gold
After a hotly contested 31:29 (17:13) semi-final win over Denmark, defending Women’s 19 EHF EURO champions Russia have made it to the final of the Women’s Junior World championship in Croatia.
The team of head coach Vjatcheslav Kirilenko will face Asian champions Korea on Sunday (16:30 hrs. local time) in Koprivnica. The Koreans had ended the surprising winning spree of Germany in another close semi-final with a 28:24 (15:11) victory.
Also on Sunday France and Romania face for fifth position, after winning their respective matches of the placement round 5-8 on Friday. Netherlands and under-19 EHF EURO silver medallists Hungary compete in the match for seventh position.
The first semi-final - the re-match of the 2012 Youth World Championship final (won by the Danes) and the Women's 19 EHF EURO 2013 semi-final (won by Russia after double extra time) - was the best match of this competition so far.
Led by the outstanding Daria Dmitireva (nine goals) the Russians (eleven time world champions in this age category including the trophies won by the Soviet Union) remain the only unbeaten team of the current World Championship.
When the final whistle was blown, the Russian players jumped for joy, bounced around, knowing that they had just successfully finished a really tough piece of work successfully against the Danes.
Until the 10:10 the match was open, then Russia forged ahead to a four-goal lead at the break, but the Scandinavians stood strong - boosted by the seven goals of Line Haugsted - and equalised at 20:20.
This goal was the wake-up call for Russia to strengthen their defence and to march ahead to a virtually decisive score of 27:22. "We are the favourites for the final, we will be the red machine," Kirilenko joked after the match.
But to reach this goal medal, the Russians will need to adapt to the extremely movable and offensive defence of Korea, who made it to their first World Championship Final in this age category since 1991.
"We missed too many chance in the second half and partly were affected by their unorthodox style of playing," German coach Thorsten Schmid said after the close defeat. The brave fighting Germans - ranked tenth at Women's 19 EHF EURO 2013- will compete with Denmark for the bronze medal at 14:00 hrs. local time.
Germany were beaten despite eight goals of their top scorer Xenia Smits and despite the fact that the quick Koreans - led by eleven times scorer Hyojin Lee -were running out of power in the final stages.
Even using a seventh field player to put more pressure on the Asian champions was not a key for success for the Germans, who were temporarily down by six goals, before they were close to turn the match around at 22:24, but eventually failed.
Semi-finals: Denmark - Russia 29:31 (13:17), Korea - Germany 28:24 (15:11)
Placement round 5-8: France - Netherlands 31:25 (14:11), Romania - Hungary 25:24 (14:15)
Placement round 9-16, match day 2: Brazil - Sweden 20:22 (8:12), Portugal - Slovenia 26:28 (14:15), Czech Republic - Croatia 23:33 (9:16), Serbia - Norway 25:39 (12:22)
On Saturday, 12 July those placement matches including seven European teams will be played in Dugo Selo:
Placement 15/16: Brazil - Portugal, Placement 13/14: Sweden - Portugal, Placement 11/12: Czech Republic - Serbia, Placement 9/10: Croatia - Norway
Before the bronze final and the final on Sunday (13 July) those placement matches 5-8 will be carried out in Koprivnica: Placement 7/8: Netherlands - Hungary, Placement 5/6: France - Romania
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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