Netherlands inch closer to historic World Championship berthArticle
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DAY REVIEW: With a crucial 33:30 win against Portugal, Netherlands are favourites to qualify for a first IHF Men’s World Championship berth since 1961

Doubling down on their superb performance at the EHF EURO 2022, Netherlands confirmed their credentials in part 2 of the Qualification Phase 2 for the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship.

The Dutch side clinched a superb 33:30 win against Portugal and will be favourites to qualify for Poland/Sweden 2023, after a flawless attacking display.

Portugal vs Netherlands 30:33 (16:17)

  • an efficient attack, which scored with a 70 per cent efficiency, lifted the Dutch to a crucial win, their second in four months against Portugal
  • a 4:0 run in the middle of the second half, spurred by two goals from line player Samir Benghanem, lifted the Netherlands to a 25:22 lead which was never relinquished
  • the fourth-best top scorer at the EHF EURO 2022, Dutch right back Kay Smits, was once again his team’s top scorer, with ten goals, including the last one, scored with two seconds to go
  • Portugal will need a monster comeback in the second leg of the game, due to be played on Sunday, in the Netherlands
  • Netherlands inched closer to their first participation at the IHF Men’s World Championship since 1961, when they finished eleventh

Trademark attack helps Netherlands make their mark

When Erlingur Richardsson was named the Dutch men’s national team coach, the side was just stuck in no man’s land, without many prospects. Since then, the Netherlands took part in two EHF EURO editions and sealed wins against Poland and Sweden in the World Championship Qualification Phase.

A trademark attacking style and an impressive generation for the Dutch has worked wonders, with their 33:30 win against Portugal on Thursday evening being just the cherry on top of the cake. If they proceed to their first World Championship edition since 1961, the Netherlands may just confirm they are one of the hottest European teams right now.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu