Olympic champs Denmark set sights on handball world title

AFP/The Local
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Olympic champs Denmark set sights on handball world title
Denmark's star player Mikkel Hansen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix

Denmark, Spain and Croatia all won their second pool matches at the World Handball Championships on Saturday while Poland, bronze medallists last time out, suffered a damaging 28-24 defeat to Brazil.


Olympic champions Denmark romped past Egypt 35-28 in Group D after the Africans had started their tournament brightly beating Qatar on Friday.
Casper Mortensen and Lasse Svan Hansen scored five and six times respectively in the first-half giving the Danes a 21-15 lead by the break and 12 of their 14 outfield players had scored by full time.
"For us, it was a great game. We won with a lot of goals, but it was a hard match. Egypt played very well and played a very hard defence also," said Denmark coach Morten Olsen.
Denmark will face its neighbour and longtime rival Sweden on Monday night. 
"Against Sweden, it will be a special game. It's always special against Sweden, we also want to be the best in Scandinavia, so we will try [...] to win against them."
Spain and Croatia both had a tighter time of it.
The Iberians were leading Tunisia by just two points with ten minutes to go in their Group B game but thanks to David Balaguer's three late goals they eventually prevailed 26-21.
The Spaniards now have four points and are level with Slovenia, who edged Iceland 26-25.
"In the second half, we had to stay concentrated as Tunisia never gave up. Our goalkeeper stopped many shots and we could then go a lot on the counter-attack," said Spain's Valero Rivera.
Hungary were missing their star player Laszlo Nagy with an ankle injury but still ran Croatia close over the first 45 minutes before a late flurry gave the Croats a 31-28 win, leaving them sole leaders of Group C ahead of Chile and Germany.
In Group A, defending champions France made it three wins in three when a 31-28 triumph over Norway edged them closer to the quarter-finals of the world handball championships on Sunday.
Having already seen off Brazil 31-16 and Japan 31-19, man of the match Nikola Karabatic and Kentin Mahe hit five goals each for France while Magnus Jondal scored six for Norway.
"Nikola (Karabatic) scored some important goals. This is more than just about one man, though, all the guys played well. I'd say that we passed our first test," said France winger Michael Guigou.
 Karabatic added: "This was almost a little final in the group given that they had beaten Russia and Poland. Now we must keep going like this."
In the other Group A match on Sunday, Brazil downed Japan 27-24.
In Group C, European champions Germany crushed Chile 35-14 with star player Uwe Gensheimer hitting four penalties and Rune Dahmke scoring seven goals from 11 shots.
In Pool B, Iceland and Tunisia drew 22-22. Amine Bannour hist 12 from 20 for the north Africans.
Qatar, the world runners-up to France on home court in 2015, defeated Gulf neighbours Bahrain 32-22 while Sweden claimed a second win of the week, beating Argentina 35-17.


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