The handball world championship has entered the main round and opened with a big hit right at the beginning. European Champion Spain met World Champion France.
The Spaniards had an excellent start in the preliminary round, but then surprisingly in the last game suffered a defeat against Croatia. France, on the other hand, clearly won their group and only had to give up only one point in the match against co-host Germany. At the 25:25 in Berlin, they were able to equalize with the final whistle and the draw therefore seemed more like France had just defeated the German team.
And now the game of the two champions and it became a fiery show in which the French team could claim the better end for themselves and won with 33:30.
In front of over 18.000 spectators in Köln France was able to convince against the defense-strong Spaniards and showed a strong performance particularly when attacking.
Until 18:18 the game remained quite balanced but after that the world champion was able to draw away to a 6 point lead. The European Champion could not make up this deficit anymore, even if Spain could come back to up to 2 points at the end.
There were many goals to cheer for the fans on both sides, Ferrán Solé scored a fabulous 11 goals, but even with that he could not prevent the defeat of his team. On the French side, Ludovic Fabregas and Dika Memmit each scored 6 goals.
Spain are already with their backs to the wall, with only 2 points after defeats in the last two games.
France, on the other hand, already have 5 points and could already make for a decisive lead if they win their next match against Iceland.
The Icelandic team met host Germany in their first main round match, but were quickly 5-2 behind in front of over 19,000 spectators. However, the northern Europeans were not impressed at all and quickly turned the deficit into their own 6-5 lead.
Germany struggled at the beginning against the young yet experienced team from Island and also argued with several referee decisions, but was able to return to 14:10 by the end of the first half.
In the second half, the host's team was able to keep the Icelanders at a distance, especially goalkeeper Andreas Wolff with 12 parades had a decisive share.
But also the German offensive was successful and much more efficient than the matches before, best thrower was Steffen Fäth with six goals. Arnor Thor Gunnarsson scored the same for the visitors from Iceland.
A few minutes before the end, the fans of the German team were no longer on their seats and started to celebrate their team's imminent victory. Iceland was defeated with 24:19 and in the meantime Germany took the lead in the group and is now again ahead of world champion France.
But Croatia can move passed today if they win against Brazil and the host's team will have a tough time in the next games. The next match will be against Spain, who will give their all to avoid an early elimination at this world championship. And then they will face the Croatian team themselves, which hasn't lost any points yet.
Only two teams from the group of six will reach the semi-finals, the upcoming matches will show which team can continue to dream their World Cup dream.