16 January 2017
Seven games are scheduled for Monday, with at least one in every venue of the first round. Here is everything you need to know about day six…
Match of the Day Preview: Poland vs Russia (20:45, Nantes, XXL)
This is already a last-chance game for Poland. A defeat and they’re out. But this is also a crucial game for Russia, since a loss might mean heading to the President’s Cup instead of the eighth-finals. This, in fact, looks very much like a ‘sixteenth-final’ game.
Russia started the tournament as best as they could, beating Japan easily (39:29), before losing against Norway (28:24). The third game against Poland is already crucial for them, before playing Brazil and France afterwards.
“Poland are very much like a turning point for us in this World Championships. The result will definitely change the course of what we hope for,” said coach Dmitri Torgovanov on Friday. “We’ll have had time to rest then, and we’ll have no excuse if we lose. We have more experience than them, we have to win it.”
On the other hand, Piotr Chrapkowski, the Polish left-back, expects that his team will have learnt something of the first two losses, against Norway (22:20) and Brazil (28:24). “We didn’t miss much in order to win, just a little bit of efficiency in the last minutes of the two games,” he said. “We are anticipating another close game, and with such a young team, I hope we’ll have learnt from our mistakes in order to keep a chance to qualify for the next round,” concluded Chrapkowski.
Quick facts for…
Group B, Metz, Arenes de Metz
17:45 Slovenia vs FYR Macedonia
Repeat of Qatar 2015 eighth-final at the Ali Bin hamad Al-Attiya Arena in Doha. Slovenia won 30:28 (16:15).
Slovenia have four players (Vid Kavticnik, Jure Dolenec, Matej Gaber and Marko Bezjak) in their France 2017 squad who played then. The Macedonians have eight players: Kiril Lazarov, Dejan Manaskov, Stojance Stoilov, Filip Mirkulovski, Velko Markoski, Nikola Markoski, Goce Georgievski, Filip Lazarov.
Kiril Lazarov (MKD) has scored ten out of ten seven meter shots so far in France 2017 – a perfect record.
20:45 Spain vs Angola
Spain and Angola have never met in an IHF Men’s World Championship or Olympic Games.
Angola, playing in just their second-ever IHF Men’s World Handball Championship, have a save rate of just 17 per cent in their two games played but scored one more goal (47) than Iceland (46) after two games.
Goalkeeper Giovany Ranel Muachissengue (ANG) scored his first-ever goal for Angola, against FYR Macedonia on Saturday.
Group C, Rouen, Kindarena
17:45 Hungary vs Chile
After two defeats against the top teams Germany and Croatia, now Hungary start their hunt for the eighth-final spot. “We still have the fate in our own hands and fight for the third spot of Group C”, says head coach Xavier Sabate.
Hungarian team captain Laszlo Nagy could not play against Croatia (28:31) after his ankle injury – occurred in the opener against Germany – thus his fitness is still in question. “We will not take any risks, as we need him for the crucial matches”, said Sabate.
It is the only duel of two Spanish-born coaches in Group C. Sabate against former Barcelona player Mateo Garralda, a six-time Champions League winner. And his hunger for more has not been stilled yet. After their sensational win against Belarus at the start, Garralda is sure: “We dreamt of making it to the knockout stage, and we have a chance, though the Hungarian hurdle is huge for us.”
20:45 Croatia vs Belarus
Croats can book their ticket to the eighth-final with another win after beating Saudi Arabia (28:23) and Hungary (31:28) before. Belarus lost to Chile in their opener (28:32) and because of this result, they need a win against one of the top teams Croatia on Monday or Germany on Wednesday 18th January, to avoid another participation at the Presidents’ Cup like two years ago (with 5th and 6th teams).
Before becoming Croatia’s coach, Zeljko Babic coached Belarus club Meshkov Brest, from which four players are in their national squad for the 2017 World Championship: Andrei Yurynok, Viachaslau Shumak, Dzianis Rutenka and Siarhei Shylovich.
While Croatia was World Championship winner in 2003 and finalists in both 2005 and 2009, the best ever Belarusian World Championship result is a ninth position. The last time, both teams faced on the world stage, was in the 2013 eighth-final, when Croatia had no problems in winning 33:24.
Group D, Paris, AccorHotels Arena
17:45 Egypt vs Bahrain
Bahrain, up until now, have only participated in only one World Championship, five years ago in Sweden. In the Group A, they dominated Egypt 27:26, last official game between the two nations.
After two games played (a win 22:20 against Qatar and defeat 35:28 versus Denmark), Egypt have an interesting shot ratio of 60 per cent. On the other hand, Bahrain were only at 32 per cent at the end of their first loss to Sweden (33:16).
Ahmed Elahmar is the co-top scorer for Egypt in the 2017 World Championship (with a total of 11 goals, tied with Eslam Eissa). Zamalek’s right back was also the flag bearer of his country at Rio’s Olympic Games.
20:45 Denmark vs Sweden
Denmark and Sweden are the only nations, with France, to place their two goalkeepers in the Top 10 of saving percentages. With 23 saves, the Danish, Niklas Landin, had the second best of the competition, behind the Tunisian, Makrem Missaoui (25).
Since the beginning of the year 2000, the two countries have faced 13 times. With a result of seven wins for Denmark, four for Sweden and two draws, including their last game, on 26 January 2016, during the main round of the EURO (28:28).
The favourite teams of this Group D, Denmark and Sweden, have seen their best players move to foreign countries. On the Swedish side, only five players are currently playing at home, while two Danes play in their national championship. And if you mix the two selections, it’s a total of 16 players who are in the German Bundesliga.
Photo: S. Pillaud / IHF