Full armada cruises to the knock-out stageArticle
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ROUND REVIEW: All 14 European teams qualify for the Last 16 of the Women’s Junior World Championship in Croatia

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Full armada cruises to the knock-out stage

Outstanding performances and dominance of the European participants at the Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship in Croatia: The full armada of 14 teams clinched their berth for the Last 16, which will be played on Monday (7 July) in Koprivnica and Dugo Selo.

This constellation means that at least six European teams will make it to the quarter-finals, as six all-European pairings will be played. The only non-European participants in the knock-out stage are Asian champions Korea (only non-European group winner) and Pan-American champions Brazil.

The three medallists of the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2013 in Denmark have finished on top of their respective groups being the only teams with an unbeaten record of five wins: European champions Russia, who narrowly won the top duel against Romania, silver medallist Hungary (ahead of France) and bronze medallists Denmark, who left Germany and Netherlands behind in their group.

The closest battle was seen in Group A including World Championship host Croatia, who was level on points with Korea in the end, but had lost the direct encounter to finish second. Norway and Czech Republic were also level, with Norway’s win in the direct duel saw them placed ahead.

Surprise package

The biggest surprise from a European point of view was Portugal, as they made it to the Last 16 by three wins, including a victory against defending champions Sweden.

The Scandinavians were the last (and luckiest) European team to qualify for the Last 16, as they had to wait until the end in their crucial final group phase duel against Japan. Down by seven goals at the break, they managed to draw level and make it through thanks to their better goal difference compared to the Asians after the sides were tied on three points.

Serbia also needed to wait for their ticket to the Last 16 until the completion of their final group match against Argentina, but finally took a clear win.

Facts and figures

In terms of statistics Russia (scoring 180 times in five matches) had the second best attack below Korea (183 goals) and ahead of Norway (165 goals in the group phase).

In terms of defence, Hungary is the clear winner. The leader of Group C was the only team to concede less than 100 goals in five matches - and finally ended up with only 82, to top this ranking ahead of France (100 conceded goals) and Croatia (101).

In terms of top scorers, the best European player is only on the sixth position. Number 1 in this ranking is Argentine Elke Karsten by 44 goals, ahead of Marina Barreiro (Uruguay/42), Haruno Sasaki (Japan/42), Irina Alexandrova (Kazakhstan/38, the top scorer of the 2012 Youth World Championship), Juliana Machado (Angola/35) and Andjela Janjusevic (Serbia/34).

Machado (together with Norwegian Emilie Arntzen) is also leading the assists ranking by 18 each. From the statistical point of view Portuguese Isabel Gois is the best goalkeeper of the preliminary round, after saving 72 shots. She tops the ranking ahead of Dinah Eckerle (Germany), Petra Kudlackova (Czech Republic, both 69) and Helena Sousa (Angola/65).

Looking ahead on the Last 16 matches on Monday, Denmark, Romania, Russia, Hungary and France are fancied to make it to the next stage after their performances to date. The matches Netherlands vs. Croatia and Germany vs. Norway should be quite open, while Serbia appear to be the underdog against the impressive Koreans.

All matches of the U20 World Championship are streamed live on the event’s official website.

Match schedule Last16 - Monday 7 July:

In Koprivnica:

14:00 hrs. local time:

Denmark vs Czech Republic

16:15 hrs. local time:

Korea vs Serbia

18:30 hrs. local time:

Netherlands vs Croatia

20:45 hrs. local time:

Norway vs Germany

In Dugo Selo:

14:00 hrs. local time:

Portugal vs Romania

16:15 hrs. local time:

Brazil vs France

18:30 hrs. local time:

Hungary vs Slovenia

20:45 hrs. local time:

Russia vs Sweden

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor