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Date: 1/27/2013

For the fifth time in history the host has won the gold medals at a Men’s World Championship after Germany in 1938 and 2007, Sweden in 1954 and France in 2001. But never before any team in the history of handball has won a World Championship final by a clearer result than Spain did on Sunday (27 January) against Denmark. The Iberians clashed the European champions by 35:19 (18:10. The old record was the 22:12 of Sweden against Czechoslovakia at the World Championship 1958 in the German Democratic Republic.

Attended by 16.500 frenetic and vociferous spectators in the sold-out Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona – including Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and Danish Crown Princess Mary – the Spaniards showed an extra-ordinary performance – and caused a state of shock to the Danes.

The World Champion trophy was handed over by IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa and Prince Felipe, while the disappointed Danes received their silver medals by their Crown Princess Mary and IHF first Vice President Miguel Roca Mas.

Spain won their second World Championship title after 2005 in Tunisia, as Denmark lost their third final after 1967 (against Czechoslovakia) and 2011 against France) and still wait for their first title on the world floor. But as they were defeated two years before by France in extra-time, they already had lost the game in Barcelona at the break, when Spain was ahead by 18:10. And all Iberians knew whom to thank most after this incredible match: goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik, who played the match of his life. He shattered all Danish hopes with his saves

The Spanish defence stood as a solid rock, built of granite or concrete – and the Danes desperately tried to get through, but either were blocked, lost the ball or goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik saved the shots. After only five minutes Danish coach Ulrik Wilbek took his first time-out, as his team was below by 0:3. Thanks to their outstanding defence the Danes could not start their counter-attacks. On the other hand the Spaniards left All Star Team goalkeeper Niklas Landin chanceless, he was replaced early by Yannick Green. After 15 minutes the Danes intermediately were close to one goal, but the Spanish engines switched to full speed, as their defence allowed only goal for seven minutes. Thanks to their needle-pin counter attacks, Spain really overran the European champions in this stage, forging ahead to 13:8, causing even the second Danish time-out. But Wilbek could not change anything his players had lost their rhythm completely and did not find it until the end, while the “Spanish machine” scored like a Swiss clockwork. The host had already decided this never expected clear final at the break, when they were away by 18:10.

Who thought the Danes could anyhow have the chance to reduce, was completely wrong. Spain played like in a rush, as goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik performed the match of his life. It took only four minutes for the Spaniards to double-figure the result at 21:11 – a really punishment for the Danes after eight victories in eight matches before at this World Championship.

And they resigned, knowing that their fate was sealed, while Spain kept the same level of performance, extending the gap to sensational 15 goals in minute 40 after another five straight goals to 26:11. Wilbek had tried all possible measures, but nothing helped, while the Spaniards flew on the wings of success and the saves of extra-terrestrial Sterbik, whose actions even his coach Valero Rivera could not believe.

And they even went away to a 17 goal distance at 29:12 in minute 40. And from minute 45 on, the team and the staff started their celebration on the bench, while those on the field still scored and scored and scored. At 18.39 hrs local time the dream of their “home gold” had become reality, whole Spain started their big handball party all over the country.

Statements after the match 

Angel Montoro (Spain): The first minutes of the match started quite normally, but then something happened – I don´t know. The Danish team was going down minute by minute, so the rest of the match was quite easy to play for us. I did not expect such a performance of the Danish team, because they played a really good tournament. But now we are going to celebrate our gold medal.


Gedeon Guardiola (Spain): This is a fantastic day for us and for all handball-friends in Spain. We saved our best match for the final. Denmark was never able to react.


Hnerik Mollgaard (Denmark): We played a very nice tournament, but when you play a final like this you feel completely disappointed. Even if we had lost against Spain in another way it would have been acceptable, but the way we lost today was disgusting. Spain made not only a fantastic match but also a great step forward in their development. The way we wanted to play never succeded.


Rene Toft Hansen (Denmark): It will take two weeks minimum before I will be glad about this silver medal. We are tired, Spain fought with incredible energy. It was a little consolation, that we get the medal from our princess Mary.


Hans Lindberg (Denmark): That was embarrassing. I can´t rememeber that I was standing in a hall for such a long time after the match. I have no explanation for what had happened, but finally the tournament was good for our team – with the exception of the final.

Valero Rivera (Coach Spain): We have worked four years for this success, so I have to thank all my players for their hard work, those players, who lost the dramatic Olympic quarter-final, those players, who could not be on the court today like Hombrados, Ugalde or Raul Entrerrios. Especially I have to thank team captain Alberto Entrerrios, who had his comeback after not being nominated for the Olympics at this World Championship – and became World Champion in his last international match. Thanks also to all people who helped us in the last four years, when we had setbacks.

The audience today was wonderful – in a match about which the people will talk in 20 years still, with a result I never have seen on a scoreboard in a decisive game in my whole life. This was an incredible experience. It was the best thing to celebrate this victory with my friends and family in my home town Barcelona. Playing at home was big plus and we could stop Denmark playing as they wanted, we just stopped them. Denmark did not even try to reduce the result in the second half. Especially in the first half the defence and goalkeeping were unbelievable and we led by 18:10 at the break.

Alberto Entrerrios, team captain Spain: This was a very special day for me. I am very happy and delighted, not only to win the gold medal to end my international career in this way. I thank all team mates, the staff and coach Valero Rivera – but also my friends and family, who supported me, especially my brother Raul, who could not be on the court today.

Finn Tage Jensen, press responsible Denmark: On behalf of our coach Ulrik Wilbek I give the following statement: “I am very disappointed with the defeat, the result and the way we played. Nothing really succeeded today. After eight victories before we deserve the silver medal, as Spain took a really convincing victory today. Congratulations to them.”

Niklas Landin, goalkeeper Denmark: Congratulations to Spain for a brilliant victory and tournament. The last ten minutes before the break were our worst ten minutes in this tournament. I hope we will be back next year.