ROUND REVIEW: Ongoing European dominance at the Men’s Youth World Championship in Russia
Seven European quarter-finalists in Ekaterinburg
European teams continue to dominate the Men’s Youth World Championship in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Seven out of the eight teams in Monday's quarter-finals are from Europe, Brazil being the only nation managing to squeeze in among the European teams.
The only team to win all five group matches, Iceland, continued their winning streak on Sunday against one of the four remaining non-European teams in the competition, South Korea. Iceland won the high-scoring match 34:28 and set up a quarter-final against Brazil, the only team outside of Europe still in contention for gold.
The Brazilians took host nation Russia out of the race for the title. A narrow 28:26 win sent Brazil on to the last eight.
Hungary reached the final of the Men’s 18 EHF EURO in impressive fashion last summer, but will not emulate that achievement this time around.
A 39:33 defeat against Norway sent Hungary out. A Norwegian change of defensive formation from 6-0 to 5-1 turned out to be the key to success for the Scandinavians, who will take on Slovenia next.
Slovenia, who took a slightly surprising group win ahead of France in the preliminary round, defeated their Balkan neighbours Croatia 26:23.
Finishing second in their preliminary group behind Slovenia turned out to be no hindrance for France. In their opening knockout match against Switzerland, the Frenchmen left no doubt about the final result, as the physical strength of the French team became too much for the otherwise technically skilled Swiss talents with score of 29:24.
In their quarter-final, France will be up against another undefeated side, Sweden. The Swedes defeated Egypt 31:26, but the match was more one-sided than the final result indicates, as Sweden were leading by 11 goals at two points in the second half.
The fourth and last quarter-final promises to be a classic. Spain and Denmark met twice at the Men’s 18 EHF EURO last year and on both occasions the Spaniards took the win.
However, the Danes will fancy their chances after taking the most comprehensive win of the round. Morten Henriksen’s lads cruised to a 28:14 win against Tunisia.
Spain also enter the quarter-final with a clear win behind them following a 25:19 win over Serbia. The quarter-finals will take place on Monday and live streaming can be found here.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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