NEWS REPORT: 2015 champions France, Iceland and Spain are still unbeaten after the preliminary round of the Men's 19 World Championship while hosts Georgia have just missed out on a spot in Wednesday's Last 16
Favourites ease into Last 16 at Men’s 19 World Championship
Three of the four groups in the preliminary round of the Men’s 19 World Championship 2017 in Georgia have been won by European nations – and they did it in style.
2015 champions and Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2016 gold medallists France (Group A), Iceland (B) and Spain (D) all topped their respective groups with five straight wins. It left South Korea (C) as the only non-European group winners.
Norway (A), Georgia (B) and Serbia (D) were the only teams among the 14 European starters which failed to make it to the next round.
In the Last 16 on Wednesday, France are up against Chile, who have reached the next round of a world championship in any age category for the first time.
In the same half of the draw, it’s Portugal vs Tunisia, Denmark vs Germany, and South Korea vs Russia.
In the other half, Iceland meet Sweden while Spain are facing Poland. Also, Balkan neighbours Slovenia and Croatia go head to head, and Japan take on Egypt.
Livestreams from the Olympic Palace in Tbilisi are available on the website of the International Handball Federation.
In Group A, line player Kyllian Villeminot scored 33 times to help France to five clear victories. The French streak included a 42:20 drubbing of Bahrain, who then upset Denmark 35:31 in their next match but still finished bottom of the table.
Egypt performed well to place second, two points ahead of Denmark and three ahead of Sweden.
In Group B, Iceland – led by the event’s leading goal scorer, Teitur Örn Einarsson (46) – claimed the No. 1 spot in their final group game by edging Germany 29:28 on a last-second goal by Orri Freyr Thorkelsson. Both teams had won their first four matches and Germany, the Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2016 bronze medallists, would have finished top of the group with a draw.
Japan took third with three wins but there was heartbreak for hosts Georgia, who were upset by Chile in their final group game and narrowly missed out on the Last 16 on goal difference.
In Group C, South Korea suffered a heavy nine-goal defeat (33:24) at the hands of Portugal. They still topped the group as Portugal were upset by Brazil in their final group match.
Also, Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2016 runners-up Croatia advanced and were joined by Poland, a late entry to replace Venezuela at the championship, who edged Brazil on goal difference for fourth place.
In Group D, Spain won most of their matches comfortably but struggled against Serbia (29:28), who then missed out on the Last 16 by placing fifth. Having lost to Spain only, Tunisia took second as their centre back Mohamed Darmoul starred with 39 goals. Slovenia and Russia also entered the Last 16.
Photos: IHF / Stephane Pillaud
TEXT: EHF / ew
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