Already before the match between Croatia and Japan even started, for the most handball fans it was clear who would be the winner of this Group C game.
And despite the clear outsider role of the Japanese team, which entered this World Cup in Germany and Denmark with a wildcard, I personally still kept my fingers crossed and hoped that the team from the Far East would perhaps manage to achieve something in this game that nobody had expected.
Well, the final result speaks a different language. Croatia won the game with 35:27 and sent the Japanese back to the dressing room. Already after ten minutes the Balkan team, which won the bronze medal at the European Championships in 2016, took a clear 7:1 lead.
However the Japanese were able to cope better during the match, but particularly in front of the goal they had had problems to score and failed not a few times against the brilliant deflecting Croatian keeper Šego.
But as coach Sigurdsson later said:
“We had at the beginning against the strong defence no Chance. It was really difficult. We have, however, proved morale and fighting spirit. We were no longer afraid,”
Even though Japan are now in last place after two games and have hardly any realistic chances to reach the main round, I'm sure that the whole team will give everything until the last minute to maybe manage to clinch a victory, a success that would be very important for their self-confidence.
I keep my fingers crossed. 頑張ってください - Ganbatte kudasai!
Spain, the co-favourite, however, didn't miss out in the second game either.
Against Iceland the Iberians won 32:25. The European champions convinced with a strong and disciplined way of playing and a solid team performance, and with four points from the first two games are now in a perfect position for the coming games.
In the match against Spain, not only the players and the coach of the handball-crazy Icelanders struggled with the performance of the referees, but also the neutral spectators in the Olympiahalle in Munich, which was again very well filled on this day, accompanied many decisions with angry whistles from the ranks.
In the second half Spain went off and was quickly in the lead with 27:20, but the Icelanders did not give up and tried everything to avoid the defeat. But in the end it wasn't enough and now Iceland is already under a lot of pressure after two defeats and has to win their next matches, if they don't want to miss the main round of this world championship.
In third match of Group C, Macedonia faced Bahrain and managed a second win.
After a strong start against Japan, it soon looked as if Macedonia would be able to claim another clear victory in this match too, but the underdog Bahrain fought his way back into the game and during the first half was even able to turn a clear deficit into a lead.
And in the second half too, the Macedonian team had more trouble than expected, but eventually succeeded in winning 38-29, a big thank you goes out to the eight goals scored by top scorer Lazarov.
After two games, Lazarov has already achieved 16 goals and could become one of the best scorers of the tournament if his performance remains the same.
Macedonia, like Spain and Croatia, have reach optimal results so far, and now it is still in their own hands to go to the main round, in which the best three teams from each group will play.
The spectators on the ranks of the Olympiahalle in Munich showed a great performance themselves on this fourth day and this positive and cheerful atmosphere could contribute a lot to the success of this tournament. So let's look forward to the next matchday.