Germany against Russia, the first big challenge for the DHB (Deutscher Handballbund) team, and after that match they must clearly admit: Unfortunately they didn't really pass the test.
22:22 was the final score and suddenly the big handball party in Germany seemed to be over. And in the next game, they will now face World Champion France, who, after their third straight win against South Korea, are now clearly leading the group.
Until shortly before the end, everything looked quite good for the host country Germany, who was able to control the Russian team over long distances of the match. But then Paul Drux failed a pass and the Russians surprisingly equalized to 21:21. After one more goal for each team, the game was over and the Russian squad celebrated the draw like a huge win. For the German team, however, the result felt like an unexpected defeat, and in the remaining games, they now seriously have to worry about reaching the main round.
Against France, it's essential to show some much better performance, especially in terms of scoring. Against Vincent Gerard, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, it won't be an easy task at all.
Much will depend on Uwe Gensheimer, with 25 goals so far the best scorer at this world championship, who in the match against Russia came on the longest playing time. He was on the field for over 59 minutes, the German team around coach Prokop can only hope that he has already absorbed this performance until the big match against France.
Hopefully he will play one of the best games of his life (so far)!
Third game - Third defeat respectively Third game -Third victory.
That's how easy the situation can be described and summed up after the end of the first round match between Japan and Spain.
But things looked quite different during the match, the Japanese team around the former DHB-coach Dagur Sigurdsson got off to a dream start and took a surprising 3-0 lead. Although Spain came into the game much better, the underdog from the Far East could even take a 11-10 lead into the halftime break.
But in the second half Spain showed its whole class and in the end the experience of the European Champion and the skills of the individual players of the Iberians helped to manage a hard-fought 26:22 victory. For Spain, the next round should only be a formality after the first three wins, but Japan unfortunately seems to have no real chance to reach the main round anymore.
Nevertheless, I hope that the passionately fighting Japanese team will continue to show their best side in the remaining matches and that they will still be able to surprise us. It would be too bad if they had to go back home without at least winning one game. They are still going to face Iceland and Bahrain, so there is still hope for some good ending, to take with them some jive they need to prepare themselves for the Olympic tournament coming up next year.
I am still keeping my fingers crossed!