Israel proceed to next stage; Belgium strike back
The third team to proceed to the second qualification stage of the 2023 IHF Men's World Championship has been confirmed. After Finland and Estonia advanced from group 2 in November, Israel booked their ticket from group 3 on Saturday in the first qualification phase of the 2023 IHF Men's World Championship.
Romania earned a close 33:30 win against Israel on Friday in group 3, but Israel struck back against Moldova in their second match to record a 42:31 win and book a spot in the next stage on the road to the 2023 World Championship in Sweden and Poland.
As Cyprus had withdrawn due to the Covid-19 cases in their team, only one match will be played at Cluj-Napoca on Sunday. Even a six-goal defeat against the Moldovan underdogs would be enough for Romania to proceed to the next stage.
Only three days after losing 30:25 against Turkey in group 1, Belgium turned the tide with a dominant 37:28 win in the reverse fixture to remain in the race for Poland and Sweden. As Turkey remain on four points after their second defeat, Belgium are now on three points after their first victory. On Sunday, Greece can book their ticket for the next stage if they beat Kosovo again. This group concludes with two rounds next week.
- Belgium gained revenge for their defeat against Turkey on Wednesday and for being eliminated by the same nation in qualification for the 2021 IHF Men's World Championship
- after an initial deficit, Belgium turned the match around with a 6:0 run that took the score from 6:8 to 12:8 in the middle of the first half
- although Turkey completely lost their pace, they were still quite close at the half-time buzzer, largely thanks to a strong performance from their goalkeeper Yunus Özmusul (12 saves)
- boosted by the goals of their top scorers Serge Spooren (eight goals) and Pierre Brixhe (six goals), the hosts gradually extended the gap after the break and had their first double-figure lead (32:22) in the 53rd minute
- thanks to the final result of 37:28, Belgium now hold the head-to-head advantage over Turkey, which might be crucial if both teams finish on the same number of points
Greece vs Kosovo
Sunday 9 January, 14:00 CET
- Moldova were on an equal footing until Israel took a 6:5 lead in the ninth minute. Israel then gained the upper hand with a 5:0 run
- another 5:0 run, when Israel pulled ahead from 20:10 to 20:15, ensured that the outcome was decided before the break
- in the second half, Israel's lead was only eight goals once. The gap was more or less constantly between nine and 12 goals
- Israel, who can finish no worse than second in the group, had full control of the match and booked their ticket to the next stage
- headed by Nadav Cohen, who scored eight goals, 11 Israel players scored in the match, while Roman Dodica (nine goals) and Valerntin Ivancenco (seven goals) stood out for Moldova
- Sunday's duel will be the first official match between neighbours Romania and Moldova
Moldova vs Romania
Sunday 9 January, 17:00 CET