WCh 2019 Day 8: Croatia first in group B, Serbia and Macedonia end their world tour

Igor Karacic

The final day of preliminary round brought matches that decided faiths of several teams, including our SEHA countries. Serbia remained without chances after Brazil beat Korea, so they played Germany without much pressure. Macedonia and Iceland battled for the third place in Group B, the same Group that had Spain and Croatia fought for the first place.

Group A: Germany – Serbia 31:23 (16:12)
The hosts played fantastic against France, but conceded a goal in the last second to give them only a draw against the reigning champions. Serbia had their hopes of reaching the next stage disappear after Brazil defeated Korea, which meant their maximum tally could have been five points. Serbian team was in the lead at the start of the match, but Germany responded quickly. They went to +4 in the last few minutes of the half, and were keen to continue with the same play after the break. German team played very well today, on both ends of the floor, and they were overall too much for Serbia. Most importantly, this was a match where lots of players on both sides got a chance to experience the big tournament. Musche scored 5 goals for Germany, Nemanja Ilic 6 for Serbia, while Steaua's Stefan Vujic had 2 goals. Serbia finish the group stage with 3 points, on fifth position in Group A.

Group B: Macedonia – Iceland 22:24 (13:11)
After a big defeat against Spain, Macedonia managed to get back to their feet and produce some good handball against direct competition – Iceland. Macedonians were leading for most of the first half, they played better defensively and only conceded 11 goals in the first 30 minutes. However, similar like against Spain, they did not open the second half very well and Iceland gained control of the match. Macedonia kept the match close, finally tied the score at 20:20 in the 53rd minute. Overall, it was not enough for Gonzalez's team, as Iceland ran away with it to qualify for the next round from third spot in Group B. Manaskov and K. Lazarov led Macedonia with 5 goals each, Vardar's Popovski scored 1, while Stoilov, Serafimov and Tankoski remained scoreless. Macedonia finish fourth in Group B, with the score of 2-3.

Group B: Spain – Croatia 19:23 (10:13)
In the most interesting match of group B, Croatia celebrated against European champions Spain with 23:19 (13:10). Cervar's team showed brilliant defense as one of the best world's pivots Julen Aguinagalde scored only one goal. SEHA stars shined once again and Zlatko Horvat who scored 8 was one of the key players in today's victory. Other SEHA players David Mandic added 2 and Marin Sipic 1.

Manolo Cadenas faced Qatar with his Argentinians, but they were not able to do enough to guarantee at least a point, they lost 25:26. Argentina finished the competition with three points, fifth in Group D.

Russia were also in action today as they played their last match in the preliminary round A against France. It was a thight one, but Dinart's team was better and ended the match with 23:22 win. SEHA players did a good job as Meshkov Brest's Alexander Shkurinskiy scored 4 goals, while Vardar's stars ended their WCh experience, Dibirov with 1, Kiselev with 2, while Shishkarev missed the chance to score.