NEWS REPORT: Two teams enjoying an eight-match winning streak will contest Sunday’s final at the Men’s 19 World Championship when France and Spain aim for gold
France and Spain to duel for M19 world title
Spain are just one victory away from winning a second world title this summer.
Three weeks after the under-21 team triumphed in Algeria, the under-19s can follow on Sunday when they take on 2015 champions France in the final of the Men’s Youth World Championship 2017 in Georgia.
Having lost the 2011 final to Denmark, Spain want to go one step further this time.
But, obviously, France will be a tough nut to crack. They beat Spain 29:27 a year ago on their way to winning the M18 EHF EURO 2016. Now France are trying to match the feat of Denmark, the only nation so far who successfully defended an under-19 world title (2011-13).
The final, which starts Sunday at 18:00 hrs local time (1600 CET), will be streamed live on the website of the International Handball Federation.
In Saturday’s semi-finals, Spain edged M18 EHF EURO 2016 finalists Croatia 26:24 (13:12), while France eased past Denmark 35:27 (17:12).
Since they won all their group matches in the preliminary round, both Spain and France are on an eight-match winning streak this competition.
France’s series is particularly impressive as they have scored 288 times – an average of 36 goals per match – and have won each game with at least a six-goal difference.
Spain have netted 236 times so far but conceded 10 goals less than France, 186 vs 196.
The teams’ top scorers are Kyllian Villeminot with 47 goals for France and Gonzalo Perez Arce with 33 for Spain – both well behind the tournament’s leading goal scorer, Iceland’s Teitur Örn Einarsson with 66.
In the first semi-final on Saturday, three goals by left back Halil Jaganjac gave Croatia a 4:3 lead over Spain after 10 minutes.
It would be the last time in the match that Croatia were in front although the tight encounter remained in the balance until 15:15 early in the second half. From then on, Spain were constantly ahead – but never by more than three goals.
A penalty by Mamadou Diocou made it 26:24 for Spain with two minutes left on the clock before goalkeeper Adrian Torres Herrera needed two saves to deny Croatia’s Tomislav Spruk twice in the last minute.
In the second semi-final, Emil Laerke put Denmark 1:0 up against France after 32 seconds but the Scandinavians found themselves 5:2 down seven minutes later.
They rallied to level at 9:9 after 20 minutes, but a 6:1 series in the next six minutes with two goals each by Noah Gaudin and Gael Tribillon put France in the driving seat (15:10) and they never let Denmark back in again.
Photos: IHF / Stephane Pillaud
TEXT: EHF / ew
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