The main round of this year's Handball World Championship is over and since yesterday the semi-final fixtures have been decided.
The two hosts, Denmark and Germany, have both won their main groups in a clear manner and will now face France or Norway.
The Danish team has won all their 8 matches at this tournament so far and now want to add two more to these 8 victories to finish at the very top of the podium.
And co-host Germany has also been excited about their games so far and has filled the halls in Berlin and Cologne. The atmosphere at every match was always a bit party-like, and the fans on the stands celebrated not only their team, but also themselves. This cheering and support was probably one of the reasons why the German team has played so well so far at these World Championships and has never lost a match. Germany only gave away points twice, in the preliminary round matches against Russia and France when they had to take the equalizer just before the end of the game.
But these setbacks rather seemed to have united the German team even more, since in the main round, besides Iceland, they could defeat the very strong Croats and in the last game also the European Champion from Spain. Even though the last match was more like a friendly match, Germany's second row too showed a great performance and has set up the mood for the upcoming match against Norway. The Norwegian side has lost only one match against the Danish, who clearly finished the main group B as group winner. A glance at the goal results shows that Norway can of course be reckoned with in the semi-finals as well. The northern Europeans finished the main round with 8 points and 157 goals, and no other team can match this goal quota at this tournament. The German defence has to dress up warmly if they want to stand their ground against this strong offense.
The first semi-final will take place in Hamburg, let's see if the notoriously cool North German fans will turn this game into another party on the stands. The German team will probably need a lot of energetic support in this match, if their big dream should not end after the next game.
In the second semi-final, Denmark will meet the world champions from France, and the Danes after their 8 victories in 8 games hope to be able to present the world championship title to their home fans. For France, an impressive series ended in the last main round match against Croatia, as they hadn't lost a World Cup game since the quarter-finals in 2013. But since France had already qualified for the semi-finals before this match, they probably went onto the field a bit more relaxed than usually in order to save some of their important regular player. This victory was very crucial for Croatia, as it gave them a place in the Olympic qualifying tournaments.
But psychologically this defeat could prove to be a disadvantage for the world champion, especially since the Danish team has such a great run and with this momentum wants to be carried to the final by their own fans. This semi-final will also take place in Hamburg, but the journey there should not be a problem for the Danish fans at all, as the northern German metropolis can be reached from Denmark within a very short time.
But the big final match will take place in Henning in Denmark, in the Jyske Bank Boxen Arena, and it would be wonderful for the great fans of both home teams to see a final match between Denmark and Germany.