Metz has already established all the four qualifiers for the quarter-finals. These are Norway, France, Russia and Angola to join Romania, Germany, who went through on Saturday, and Hungary who booked their ticket today. On the last matchday either Spain or Korea will follow to complete the pool of the last eight.
The ‘final matchday’ of the President’s Cup taking place in Beauvais saw the Ukraine overcome Brazil to come off 13th and thus to lift the President’s Cup trophy awarded for the first time in a women’s world title contests. Further placement matches staged in Beauvais and Plaisir were to establish took place to establish the teams ranked 15th to 24th (see below for the final ranking).
Group M I in Metz
FYRO Macedonia – Angola 25:33 (14:17)
A dream came true: Winning the third consecutive match in the main round, the team of Angola has sensationally qualified for the quarter-finals with now 6:2 points on their account. The Africans can even hope for a good position in the next round, since in case they possess as many points as France, they will prevail in the head-to-head comparison thanks to their outstanding performances in Metz.
As it was Macedonia’s last chance to progress to the last eight, the team from the Balkan Region made a good start. After a tight beginning Macedonia managed to take a comfortable 13:10 but the surprising team from Africa fought back scoring a series of 7:1 goals to attain a 17:14 half-time score. They extended the margin to seven goals (22:15) on minute 38, even eight goals (‘41) – a pre-decision in this match was made. Macedonia resigned completely: Between minute 24 and 47 the team only scored five goals – and Angola had brought home and dry their win at the score of 28:18. As it looked like a disaster for Macedonia, Angola calmed down a little bit, and Macedonia reduced the margin to a final result of 25:33. Natalija Todorovska and Valentina Radulovic each scored six goals for Macedonia, Nair Almeida was again Angola’s top scorer with seven goals.
Norway – Croatia 35:29 (15:14)
It looks like an easy victory for Norway but actually was hard work until minute 45. Croatia showed their best performance in the main round and even took a 19:18 lead. It was the same story throughout the first half, as Norway could not find a way to break up the strong Croatian defence. But with the score at 22:21, Norway found the road to victory to stay number one in Group I with now 8:0 points to their account. Croatia managed to catch up to 28:26 but then lost its power. Norway scored five consecutive goals to have their win safely in their pockets. Croatia still waits for the first points in the main round and will have to fight in the match against Macedonia, deciding which team will take places five or six in this group.
Russia - France 31:20 (15:9)
WCh host France received a free but painful lesson– and the tall girls from Russia made managed another masterpiece after losing to Norway the day before. Russia now has 6:2 and will play Angola on Tuesday – in this match it will be decided which team will rank second behind Norway in this group. Russia was as usual strong in defence. After 5:5 five consecutive goals paved the way for Russia, that kept this margin until half-time. At the score of 24:14 there was a ten-goal difference for the first time, and the French breakdown continued. Even with 14,000 spectators at Bercy it will be hard to reach the semi-final, as they will meet number one from Group II,
Group M II in Dijon
Spain – Korea 28:26 (13:12)
The Spanish team took the last chance and qualified for the last eight, celebrating their victory as if they just had won the World Championship. Spain now has 3:5 points, one point ahead of Korea. A win in their last match on Tuesday against Poland might bring them to the final round. As the Koreans made too many mistakes in their attack, the Iberians went ahead to 7:4. But after the team time-out, the Koreans improved and the Spanish team missed the goal. So Korea took the lead. Thanks to goalkeeper Elejaga in good shape, Spain secured a 13:12 half-time advantage. Yet, the tight match continued and both sides proved rather hectic. But when top scorer Marta Mangue (ten goals in 60 minutes) pulled off to 24:21, and Sanchez saved the next Korean shot, it seemed it was over but it was no. Spain themselves caused too much trouble due to own faults. Three consecutive goals helped Korea equalise to 24:24 – and then the last six minutes full of high tension began with a lot of missed shots and nervous actions from both sides. With 20 seconds to go, Patricia Alonso scored the decisive goal. Best scorer for Korea was Namsun Kim with six goals.
Hungary – Romania 34:31 (14:16)
3,200 spectators in Dijon saw a high-class match between two top teams, who are both candidates for the semi-finals. This victory made Hungary qualify for the next phase on Thursday in Paris and now has as many points as Romania (6:2) but won the head-to-head comparison. Romania had their best 20 minutes in the whole tournament so far. In case they are able to continue this play 60 minutes long, no team will beat them. Some great saves by goalkeeper Luminita Dinu and several counter-attacks helped Romania break away to 14:8 – and Hungary did not have any chance in this time. But the match was not yet over. And a series of 6:2 brought a fine half-time result (14:16) for the team guided by Andras Nemeth. During the whole match a great competition of two outstanding keepers could be observed: Dinu on the one side, Katalin Palinger, becoming Hungary’s later match winner, on the other. Nearly disappeared during the first half, World World Handball Player Anita Görbicz rose in the second interval to score seven goals from ten attempts. She and keeper Palinger turned out to be the key players for Hungary. The Hungarian ladies equalised to 19:19, the first time after 1:1, and then quickly extended their lead to 23:20. They secured a lucky win over Romania, which conceded their first defeat in the WCh but had already secured their place among the best eight.
Germany – Poland 35:32 (22:12)
Nine very strong and speedful minutes at the end of half-time one, very strong goalkeeper Clara Woltering and the goal of Grit Jurack made up to this victory for Germany against Poland. Woltering was like a wall between the goalpost, and every counter-attack was a goal on the other side. So the difference was ten goals after 30 minutes. Once in a time in the second half, Germany lost its pace: A weak defence, nearly no counter-attacks and too many missed shots, while the Polish defence was improving. But in the end Germany could rely on Grit Jurack, who scored 12 goals in total, won the match to make Germany remain unbeaten.
The Ukraine won the President’s Cup awarded for the first time ever at a Women’s WCh. The 2004 bronze medallists rank 13th in the overall standings. The Brazilians tried everything to win the title, scored four times in a row and were leading by 15:14, Brazil cannot be satisfied with this rank, yet given they have already qualified for the Olympics, it did not matter. Best scorers were Olena Tsygitsa (nine goals) and Idalina Amorim (5).
Places 15/16 Austria – Tunisia 23:30 (10:15)
Apparently Austria was too young and without much experience to prevail in this WCh tournament. They have to return to their country, taking home two victories (one in preliminaries and one in the President’s Cup) and place 16. Despite this Tunisia might be rather satisfied with 15th rank and their overall performance in the competition. From the very beginning Tunisia got the upper hand they never lost. Mouna Chebbah scored seven goals for the North Africans, Materzok and Spiridon each scored six goals.
Places 17/18: Kazakhstan – Congo 26:27 after extra-time (11:10, 21:21)
Extra-time was required to decide a close match. 70 minutes long, no team was able to gain a lead of more than two goals - and the lead switched nearly every two minutes. The decisive goal for Congo was scored only some seconds before the final whistle. Best scorer for Congo was Gisele Donguet with six goals, three players of Kazakhstan scored four times each.
Places 19/20: Argentina – Japan 20:31 (10:19)
Japan won the game to finish 19th in this tournament. The match was decided very early. After 19:10 after 30 minutes, Japan secured the win, having scored three consecutive goals to 24:12. Best scorers were Aiko Hayafune with seven goals and Barbara Ferrea (also seven).
Places 21/22: Dominican Republic – China 16:35 (11:17)
In the end very end, the team of China earned their win but still, the host of next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing cannot be satisfied with their performance in France: Two victories in six matches and place 21 will not be enough, if they want to win a medal in Beijing, as they said before. In their last match in France the Chinese team did not have any problems with the Dominican Republic. Even at half-time it looked like an easy victory, and at the score of 21:13 China scored eight goals in a row. Qiu Wei scored eight times, best scorer of the Dominican Republic was Chrisleidy Hernandes (five goals).
Places 23/24: Australia – Paraguay 14:16 (8:9)
First World Championship and the first victory for the team from Paraguay: And the Pan-American girls were celebrating, especially since they avoided coming off last in the tournament. Paraguay was leading nearly the whole time and decided the match by three goals in a row from 11:10 to 14:10. Best scorers were Solveig Petersen (Australia/4 goals) and Fabiana Alluan (Paraguay/7).
22. Dominican Republic