ROUND REVIEW: 12 out of 14 European teams among the last 16 at the Men's 19 World Championship.
Successful group phase for European teams in Ekaterinburg
The group phase at the Men´s 19 World Championship in Ekaterinburg in Russia became a success for the European participants. 12 out of the 16 teams in the first knock-out stage at the tournament are from Europe, meaning that only two European teams had to leave the tournament before the last 16 matches.
People, in general, had great expectations in Sweden and Hungary in Group A, and neither team disappointed those who believed in them.
The Swedes won the group, only losing one point along the way, with Hungary two points behind them and Serbia in third position ahead of Korea, Poland being the only European team not to make it any further than the preliminary round.
Obviously, those five straight wins gave Iceland the first place in Group B, from which Spain, Norway and Egypt follow them to the knock-out phase, while Germany became the second and last European team not to make the cut.
In this group, Switzerland turned out to be a bit unpredictable, suffering two digits defeats against Qatar and Denmark, but winning their three other matches, which gave them a third place behind Russia.
A further European nation, Croatia made it to the last 16 as the last team from this group.
A 32:32 draw on the last match day of the preliminary round gave the Slovenians the first place ahead of the French talents due to the better goal difference. Brazil and Tunisia became third and fourth.
At least four out of the 12 remaining European teams in the competition will have to leave after the next round on Sunday, though.
This is due to the simple fact that four of the last 16 matches are entirely European affairs.
Norway are facing Hungary, while Serbia and Spain will be locking horns, and so will Slovenia and Croatia, while Switzerland are running into France.
The remaining four matches are all between European teams and countries outside Europe – which, of course, still makes four all European quarter-finals possible.
TEXT: EHF / br
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