ROUND REVIEW: As the only team with seven straight wins, Iceland are in the semi-finals of the Men's U19 World Championship.
Invincible Iceland in the semi-final
The semi-finals of the Men's U19 World Championship are going to be an all-European affair on Wednesday in Ekaterinburg, Russia as France take on Spain and Slovenia face Iceland, the only team with a perfect record of seven straight wins at the tournament.
A 32:27 defeat to Iceland in the quarter-final sent the last non-European country in the competition, Brazil out of the race for the medals.
To Iceland, the win was their seventh victory out of seven at this championship, and the players from the North Atlantic are still the only team who have not lost a single point in the tournament.
In the semi-final on Wednesday, Iceland will be up against Slovenia, who continue to prove that their group win ahead of France in the preliminary round was no coincidence.
After eliminating Balkan neighbours Croatia in the last 16, the Slovenians went on to beat Norway 34:29 in the quarters.
Slovenia were leading 16:13 at half-time, but in the second half, the Norwegians caught up at 22:22, partly due to a successful 5:1 defence.
This was not enough for Norway, though, as the Slovenians were the better team at the end and won by five.
France were rated among the favourites already before the tournament started, and apart from losing a point through a draw against Slovenia in their preliminary group, Les Bleues have not disappointed those who believed in them.
On Monday, the booked the ticket to the semi-final through a convincing 35:28 quarter-final win against Sweden. French centre back Aymeric Minne was particularly outstanding with 12 goals.
Already at half-time were Spain leading by five goals, as the score was 13:8 in the favour, after they had even been eight goals up at one point.
In the second half the Danes reduced the distance to three goals, but the Spaniards made use of a nine-minute long Danish scoring drought to secure the five-goal win and send the last Scandinavian team out of the battle for the medals.
Photo: Stephane Pillaud
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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