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Date: 7/31/2008

The last day of the Main Round saw some very exciting matches in which the teams fought hard to secure their places in the semi-finals. The lucky winners who are  still on the road to the title and will now enter the next phase of the tournament are Denmark, Korea, Spain and Germany. The matches for the final days can be found here.


Please find below a summary of the final matchday of the Main Round.


Group M-I
ROU-ANG     25 : 24 (12:8)
Romania scored the second win in a row in the Main Round but it was a late finish by the team who lost all its chances to play in the semi-finals even before this match. Romania, who will play for the ninth place at the Championship now, survived a late scare after having an eight goals lead in the 38th minute.

The first half was arguably the worst of the matches played in Skopje. With no real motivation, both sides played with lots of technical faults and rather inefficiently. Romania's goalkeeper Viorica Suba was the best player at the field in the first half, but her teammates missed so many clear shots, including three fastbreaks in a row. Angola was even more inefficient, missing two penalties, too. Somehow, Romania managed to build a four goals lead until the halftime.

The match seemed decided when Romania took eight goals lead in the 38th minute (18:10), but Angola made incredible comeback during the next 15 minutes. Romania made plenty of mistakes, losing ball after ball, and Angola didn't missed a chance to take the lead in the 52nd minute (22:21). With two suspended players, Angola had little chance to keep it and with five minutes remaining Romania retained the lead with two goals in a row. Both teams missed a few shots during the finish but Angola was the one with less luck.  

HUN-MNE     34 : 33 (21:15)
Things got clear in group M1 after Hungary defeated Montenegro with Bettina Dajka's goal at three seconds to the end. The result assured Germany and Denmark's place in the semi-finals, while Montenegro's players were left in tears after missing the historical chance.
Montenegro players opened the match without concentration and Hungary easily took a 6:0 lead after only seven minutes. Montenegro scored for the first time in the eighth minute but in the next 15 minutes Hungary had no problems to keep a comfortable lead because the opponent didn't play too aggressive in defense. In the last ten minutes of the first half, Hungary increased their lead to eight goals (20:12).
Montenegro raised the quality of its game and looked fresher in the second half and in the 46th minute cut the deficit to only two goals for the first time during the match (26:24). In the next ten minutes, Hungary always found a way to retain their four goals lead, but played inconsistently and with many mistakes, Montenegro would come close by two goals again and again.
It seemed that Jovana Jovovic's shot to 33:33 with 15 seconds left could resurrect Montenegro's dream of playing in the semi-finals but Dajka's goal in the dying seconds and goalkeeper Radovic's bad reaction turned it into nightmare.

GER-DEN     24 : 25 (14:12)
Denmark will face South Korea in the semi-finals after taking the first place in M1 group, but, on the other side, the defeat didn't hurt Germany's chances to follow Denmark in the best four. However, the German players were celebrating even before the start of the match after Hungary beat Montenegro to secure them a spot in the semi-finals and they will meet Spain now. It was just a fight for the top of the group.

Denmark took an early lead but their game became sharpless after Germany locked the way to their net after ten minutes of play. Germany was defending their goal perfectly for the rest of the first half and Denmark needed individual miracles by their mastermind Laerke Winther-Moller to score. On the other side, there was lots of space for fastbreakes and after scoring six goals in a row, Germany took a 9:6 lead in the 19th minute. Danish goalkeeper Sandra Toft softened the margine before the break.

Denmark built three goals lead in the first ten minutes of the second half with their furious attacks, but Germany responded with five goals in a row to retake the lead in the 42nd minute. Both teams' defences looked strong, hardly finding the way to opponent's net. Germany scored only four times in the last 18 minutes of the match and Danish goalkeeper Sandra Toft was also responsable for that. Denmark took crucial two goals lead with three minutes remaining and Germany had no strenght to follow that.

Group M-II
BRA-ARG     30 : 23 (12:12)
Brazil won the southamerican derby against Argentina with 30:23 and they will play for the ninth place on Sunday afternoon. The first half was very tight, as both teams were scoring goal by goal.
The main reason for Argentina's defeat were strange tactics of their coach Daniel Zeballos in the beginning of the second half. His team was playing without a goalkeeper, and Brazil managed to score five goals in a row, to secure a big lead, which was enough for the victory in the end.

KOR-ESP     23 : 28 (9:16)
Spain won their most important match against Korea with 28:23 and they are now first in group M-II. The Spanish players played a wonderful game, showing off of very good defense during the whole match. Since the start of the game, they managed to stop all Korean players and their fast attacks, so the team from Asia scored only 4 goals in first 23 minutes. That was decisive phase for the match, because after that Spain was kept the difference very safe. Korea only manage to get close on three goals diference in the last five minutes, but they couldn't do something more.

CRO-FRA     33 : 25 (18:13)
Croatia won the match against France with 33:25 but they didn't reach the semifinals due to weaker goal difference than Korea. Croats were playing very well the whole the match, their defense stopped the french fast attacks which was decisive for the match. But that was not enough, because Croatia needed a victory with 21 goals difference for a place in the semifinals. Croatia will play for fifth place against Hungary and France will play against Montenegro for seventh place.

Group P-I
KAZ-ALG     25 : 29 (11:16)
The Algerian players celebrated their first victory in this World Championship, after beating Kazakhstan with 29:25. Algeria started very well and without any problem took the lead after 10 minutes with 5:4. Kazakhstan later only managed to level the score to 6:6, but in the second half Algeria took control and Kazakhstan only came close to a two goal difference (18:20) after 50 minutes.

SL-MKD     39 : 27 (20:12)
Host team, Macedonia missed to win and against Island, who won the match 39:27. Island will play for the 13th place, and Macedonia will proceed to Skopje wishing to end this Championship with another win.
Island started the game very well and after 9 minutes lead 5:1. Key player Elena Georgievska had to stay on the bench due to stomach problems. One minutes later Island had another good period and lead 9:3. Macedonia continued to play bad, and Island won first halftime 20-12.

Coach Georgievski decide to give some younger players a chance to play in the second halftime.

Group P-II
JPN-TPE     30 : 24 (17:8)
Although the Chinese Taipei started the match with an early lead of 4 goals, the Japanese showed that they were the favorite. Not only did Japan level the score but they made a solid difference in points that was unreachable for the girls from Chinese Taipei. The speed and accuracy that the Japanese girls had was quite visible as they achieved lots of goals with counter attack.  The first half-time ended with 17:8, but the Japanese girls ended the match with 30:24. The most successful Japanese player was Yasojima and in for the team from Chinese Taipei it was Yu-Thing.

SLO-AUS     42 : 14 (24:6)
In this kind of match where the winner seems to be known before the beginning, there is no excitement. The Slovenian players won easily. They played just like during training, and this is was maybe the easiest match for them at this the world championship. From the beginning they took the lead with 12 goals, thanks to the weak Australian defense. The half-time ended with 24-6. And then everything was already decided. Australia definitely didn't have the strength to do anything in this match. The match ended with 42:14. With this match Slovenia took the second and Australia the last place in this group.