On the final matchday of the main round, Norway (against France) and Germany (against Romania) also conceded a first defeat in this tournament. Korea completed the pool of the last eight in the women's title contest.
Norway, the number one from Group MI in Metz, will play Korea, Russia, second in Group MI, will meet Hungary, Angola, ranked third in Metz, will encounter Germany on Thursday, and host France, which came off fourth in their main round group, will meet with Romania, the top-ranked side of Group II.
Croatia and Spain will compete for places 9/10, while FYRO Macedonia and Poland in the placement match for 11/12 in Paris on Friday.
Group I in Metz
Angola - Russia 27:40 (11:21)
Russia finishes the main round as second in group I with 8:2 points right ahead of Angola (6:4). The first one in the main round seeing one team score 40 goals. The reigning World Champions were predominant. Angola seemed as if they saved their power for the quarter-final on Thursday. After their 31:20 win over France on Sunday Russia, which had just lost the very close match against Norway, showed again its ambitions for the title. On minute 50 five consecutive goals from 24:18 to 29:18 made them rushing ahead to 35:22 on minute 50 the affair was cleared up. Yet, Angola was not too sad about this defeat after three victories in the main round, as they had long been through to the quarter-final, a fact they had never thought could really happen. And who knows - it could be that their fairy tale goes on in the quarter-finals. Best scorer were Olga Levina (Russia/eight goals) and Ilda Bengue (Angola/six goals)
France - Norway 26:24 (11:10)
A victory good for their self confidence. The French team showed a sign of life: ‘We are back in the tournament and we will fight hard to contest for a medal. Before the start of the match it was clear that France will enter the next phase as the fourth-ranked team and that Norway will keep the top position. So their encounter was rather a prestige match - but it meant a lot for France, who had lost both against Angola and Russia in the main round. The WCh host had the better start with 6:2 but then Norway scored six times in a row. The match remained a head-to-head duel until 16:17, then France started celebrating with the crowd in Metz, when scoring a series of 7:1 goals to 23:18. They never let their lead out of hand. Sophie Herbrecht, third in the overall top scorer ranking behind Grit Jurack (Germany) and Anita Görbicz (Hungary), was the best French scorer with six goals as many as Goril Snorroegen netted, Norway's best.
Croatia - FYRO Macedonia 29:29 (13:15)
A hard and high tension fight in the very last match of the main round in Metz: This match started for both teams with zero points, and had to bring the decision which side will finish fifth or sixth in this group. In the end Croatia drew with FYRO Macedonia to earn a spot in the placement match for 9th/10th rank on Friday in Paris thanks to a better goal difference, as both teams had 1:9 points on their account. In the duel of the two sides from the Balkan Region Croatia was leading nearly all the time but was not able to obtain a comfortable margin. With six seconds to go, Macedonia equalised. Best scorers Natalija Todorovska with eleven goals, and Kristina Franic with seven goals for Croatia.
Group II in Dijon
Korea - Hungary 31:26 (12:9)
Korea has clutched at straws to still reach the quarter-finals, securing a quite clear victory over favourites Hungary, who, to everybody's surprise, had difficulties in getting the Asian side under control. Hungary earned a total 6:4 points in Group MII. After eight goals in the first four minutes the speed decreased but the number of mistakes both teams committed went up. After an early lead Hungary managed to equalise to 8:8 but missed their chances to take the lead. Three suspensions against Hungary provided numerical superiority for Korea to earn a 12:9 half-time lead. And Korea took their last chance to progress, extending the margin (22:12, '41). As the Hungarian attack did not have their best day, the Asians with outstanding goalkeeper Youngran Oh secured the lead until the final whistle was blown. Best Korean scorer was Imjeon Choi (six goals), Gabriella Szücs scored eight goals for Hungary.
Romania - Germany 32:24 (16:12)
Even though Germany lost their first match in this tournament, nobody was really disappointed about a ‘defeat that does not hurt that much.' After all, Germany will be facing Angola in the quarter-finals now which seems to be an easy task they must not feel save. Romania, for their part, will meet with host France. Last WCh's runners-up led 60 minutes long and never became unsettled against a German team, which allowed their key players like Grit Jurack and Nadine Krause to stay on the sideline early in the match. Germany never came closer than four goals, and on minute 52, with the score at 28:22, the die was cast. The Germany's attack lacked some power, and Romania was well concentrated until the very end. Best scorers were Stefanie Melbeck (Germany/six goals) and Ionela Stanca-Galca (Romania/eight goals).
Spain - Poland 29:30 (14:15)
Korea thanked Poland who celebrated their first victory in the main round and brought the Asian side a spot in the quarter-finals. But despite their victory, the Polish team will only play for places 11/12. But they had morals in a match which did not mean much for them. Korea now is qualified for the round of the last eight to meet with Norway. At the score of 29:30 Spain earned a final free-throw, but Carmen Martin Berenguer missed it, as it was blocked by Poland's defence. As tears were running on the Spanish side, the Polish team cheered as if they had just won the World Championship title. Although Polish top scorer Karolina Kudlacz was elected player of the match, goalkeeper Magdalena Chemicz became the match winner. She did not only saved more than 15 shots, but a seven-metre throw at the score of 30:29. Best scorers were Marta Mangue (Spain/nine goals) and Karolina Kudlacz (Poland/eleven goals)
Please click here to view the match schedule of the next tournament phase.