NEWS REPORT: Following their victories in Thursday's quarter-finals, France, Denmark, Croatia and Spain are going to battle it out for the title at the Men's 19 World Championship
Men's 19 World Championship gets all-European semi-finals
Just like all six previous editions of the competition, a European nation will be lifting the trophy at the Men’s 19 World Championship 2017.
The semi-finals in Tbilisi, Georgia on Saturday (match schedule) are an all-European affair, ensuring the under-19 world title will remain on the continent for two more years.
2015 champions France remain on track for a successful defence of their title but will have to get past three-time champions Denmark (2007, 2011, 2013) to make it to the final again.
And Croatia, also former champions (2009), will lock horns with Spain, who are in the semi-finals for the fourth straight time but are still seeking their maiden title.
Livestreams of both matches will be available on the website of the International Handball Federation.
France and Denmark eased through their respective quarter-finals with huge wins on Thursday.
Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2016 champions France defeated Portugal 34:24 but coach Eric Quintin’s team had to shift to a higher gear when they led the tournament debutants by just one goal (10:9) after 21 minutes.
The lead was up to four (16:12) at half-time and increased to 10 (31:21) for the first time in the 53rd minute.
Denmark outscored Russia 37:28 following a highly productive first half with 35 goals (20:15). Led by Emil Jakobsen with nine goals in total, the Scandinavians went 4:1 up within five minutes and retained a three- or four-goal margin throughout the first half.
While Denmark steadily stretched their lead after the break, any Russian hopes for a comeback were dashed deep in the second half when centre back Sergei Kosorotov was sent off with a direct red card.
Croatia were made to work much harder to get through their quarter-final.
In an up-and-down game against Sweden, last year’s M18 EHF EURO runners-up found themselves 12:9 behind at half-time but then 14:12 ahead after five minutes in the second half.
It was Sweden’s turn to stage a comeback in the final two minutes when they rallied from 23:20 down to take the match into extra time thanks to Oskar Sunnefeldt’s last-second strike, 23:23.
The game remained in the balance (25:25) before left back Halil Jaganjac and centre back Vito Bahtijarevic finally sealed the deal for Croatia, 27:25.
Spain took a five-goal win (32:27) to oust the only non-European team still in the competition, Japan.
Playing in their maiden quarter-final, Japan enjoyed a minor lead several times in the first quarter but slightly lost touch with their opponents.
Spain led by three goals (15:12) at half-time and even by 10 (32:22) with less than five minutes left. Without realistic chance of threatening Spain’s win, Japan still scored the last five goals of the match to make the final result look a bit closer.
Photos: IHF / Stephane Pillaud
TEXT: EHF / ew
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