ROUND REVIEW: Hosts Qatar the only team outside Europe among the four best in Doha
Spain keep World Championship defence alive
Three of the four teams in the quarter-finals at the Men’s 24th World Championship in Qatar are from Europe.
As the only team outside Europe, hosts Qatar have managed to get in among the four teams to decide the medals among them.
In an almost full Lusail Multipurpose Hall in the outskirts of Doha, Qatar appeared to be securing their quarter-final win against Germany in the first half.
The Qataris were completely dominating from the start and it did not take them long to build up a six-goal lead. By half-time, though, the Germans had managed to reduce the gap to four goals, 18:14.
In the second half, Germany worked their way into the game and did what they could to turn the match around but could only come within two goals. Two goals was the difference at the end of the match and Qatar progressed with a 26:24 win.
Qatar’s opponent in Friday’s semi-final will be Poland who sprung a bit of a surprise by defeating Croatia 24:22.
Thanks to a great performance by goalkeeper Slawomir Szmal, Poland were already leading 12:10 after an otherwise even first half.
Early in the second half, Croatia managed to turn the course of the game and took a 16:13 lead. The Croats entered the final stages 21:20 ahead, but it did not last. Poland finished the stronger and secured their semi-final berth with two goals to spare.
Canellas to the rescue
Spain and Denmark produced a close thriller the sides are so famous for, with the exception of the World Championship final in 2013 when Spain defeated Denmark by 35:19.
This time, there was never more than two goals separating the two teams in a match which started vividly, but which soon turned into a relatively low-scoring tactical affair, where two strong defences were in focus.
The two teams took turns at leading in the first half which ended 11:11. After the break, the Danes grasped control with a two-goal advantage, but soon it was the Spaniards’ turn to lead by two, before a nail-biting finish saw Spanish playmaker Joan Canellas score the winning goal with two seconds remaining.
Spain´s 25:24 win sees them face France in the semi-final and it was France who were the only winners in Wednesday´s quarter-finals with a relatively trouble-free affair.
France dominated from the beginning and an early 7:1 lead was extended to seven goals at 15:8, before taking an 18:10 lead with them to the dressing rooms.
From the start of the second half, France extended the lead to 20:10. A Slovenian revival reduced the deficit to 24:20, but it was short-lived and the final score was a comprehensive 32:23 win for Claude Onesta’s men.
Friday’s semi-final schedule in the Lusail Multipurpose Hall is as follows (times CET):
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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