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Date: 7/11/2012

Women’s Junior WCh in Czech Republic

Four teams left

After completion of the preliminary round, the eighth-finals and quarter-finals, the semi-finals of the Women’s Junior World Championship will be played tomorrow in Czech Republic. France, Hungary, Serbia and Sweden are those four sides which have qualified for the semi-finals of the title contests for young hopefuls following the quarter-finals, which had certainly lived up to its promises of excitement and class.


Semi-final 1: 

15.15: France - Hungary

The outcome of the match is wide open like tossing a coin. Neither favourite nor outsider could be named. Both teams rank on the same top level due to their previous performances shown and will have to make every effort to reach the final. The French ladies performed brilliantly in their quarter-final to overcome Korea, which had been slightly favoured by 30:26. Victory was partially due to France high-quality game but also due to the Asian side’s increasing loss of strength. The Koreans were tired and pooped out in the final phase of the match and thus were unable to fight back in the face of imminent defeat.


In their duel with the Polish side Hungary had to go to great lengths to secure a 29:27 win. They were behind by 3:8 in the beginning to come back from a 26:27 deficit in the two final minutes of the game. Hungary disposes of the WCh’s temporary top scorer that is Kinga Livingyi, who has scored a total of 56 goals in seven matches and who might be a key to success in the semis.



Semi-final 2

18.00: Serbia – Sweden

The Swedes are the secret favourites for the WCh title. The team that had already won the Youth WCh in the Dominican Republic two years ago made just a few changes on some positions and thus should be reckoned major contender for the title. This is not inevitable but has a certain logic. However, the Scandinavians needed some time to get into the tournament and not always performed dominantly. Against the Russian side they gave away a comfortable 17:11 lead (’33) within 16 minutes to fall behind 12:24. On the other hand they are capable of delivering themselves from such ‘hot’ situations. They proved stress-resistant during extra time against Russia and kept their nerves when the match was tight. Aside from its excellent handball game, self-confidence and physical toughness characterise that team to make it a real tough opponent.


It needs to be seen how the young Serbs will deal with that, as they have performed brilliantly so far and just lost one point in their last preliminary round match with Hungary. They are the complete unknown of the semi-final quartet and for that very reason might cause a big surprise. The Serbian coach, Zoran Valdevit, confidently answered to the question as to whether he had expected that success: “I did expect that, for sure. And I expect even more. I do not understand at all why I am always asked that question.” It proves the Serbs’ trust in their own strength. And, as is well known, faith can move mountains.