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Date: 12/21/2013

On Sunday (22 December) the medals and the winners’ trophy will be handed over at the World Championship in Serbia. First (14:30 hrs. local time) Denmark and Poland will face for the bronze medal, before host Serbia and Pan-American champions Brazil clash for gold at 17:15 hrs. local time to confirm the successor of defending champions Norway.


Final: Brazil – Serbia

If someone would have bet on this game as the final before the start of the competition, he would probably be a rich man today. When Serbia will play the final against Brazil on Sunday afternoon, it will be their second encounter in this championship. During the preliminary round they already faced and Brazil won by 25:23. But from this result no one should derive a favorite role for the Brazilian team. The outcome is completely open. Especially, because approx. 20.000 enthusiastic spectators will support the home team in a mostly sold-out Kombank Arena in Belgrad – which would bring on another attendance world record for women’s handball matches. The Brazilian coach was very impressed after the semifinal, attended by over 18.000 visitors. „For the first time in my life I have seen so many spectators watching a women´s handball match”, Morten Soubak said. „It was amazing and fantastic. And in the final we will be a part of it.”


Regardless of the result, Brazil have made history. They are the second ever Non-European team in handball history to reach a final of a Women’s World Championship after Korea, World Champions in 1995. And they are the first Pan-American team. They have kept their clean record of eight victories in eight matches as only unbeaten team of the competition. „This is a great step for Brazilian Handball”, their Danish born coach said after the semi-final victory over Denmark. „Brazil has no tradition in handball”, Ana Rodriguez, one of the successful players, added. „So this success is very important. It will help us to grow step by step.” Of course their greatest goal is to win the gold medal in the Olympics 2016 in Rio.


Also for the Serbian Handball Federation this final means the greatest success in their history. After missing the final last year during the European Championship they did it much better in the 2013 World Championship semi-final. They beat Poland overwhelming and well-deserved by 24:18 and were the dominant team during the full match. On Sunday they can count on their fans, who will create an extraordinary atmosphere. „The crowd took a huge part in this victory”, Katarina Tomasevic said after the semi-final. „They put the wind in our sails and had the effect of an extra player on the court.” But they are worried about leveraging their playmaker Andrea Lekic. She was injured in the semi-final, and on Saturday it was uncertain whether she will be able to play or not. But finally the Serbian physiotherapist Nemanja Vukic gave the all-clear: „Lekic sustained a heel injury. But she will be fit to face Brazil in the final. There is no doubt that she will play.”



Bronze final: Poland – Denmark


Since six years the Polish team had not been qualified for a World Championship. So it was a huge surprise that they made it to the semi-final against Serbia. Especially as they had played in the eighth-final against Romania and in the quarter-final against France, both of them favoured teams of this tournament. „The semi-final was a historical moment in Polish women’s handball”, Kim Rasmussen said.


The Danish born coach of the Polish team was very glad on the performance of his players so far. For years the women are trying hard to step out of the shadow of the more successful Polish men´s handball team. But by eliminating 2010 EURO silver medalist Sweden in the qualification for this World Championship, the Polish team set an important sign to prove that they are back. And Rasmussen knows that he and his girls are able to make history: Never in the history of Women’s World Championships a Polish team won a medal.


But they are going to struggle against an experienced opponent. Denmark will be the favorite for the bronze-medal match. But they also have to cope with their semi-final defeat against Brazil. „We tried and tried and tried, but it was not possible to beat them”, said Jan Pytlick, coach of the Danish team, who is waiting for the first silverware since 2004, when they won the silver medal at the European championship. Though the team is built up on a long-term range, the Danish hopes are high to gain a medal. „People at home are crazy with women´s handball”, Jan Pytlick says. And he can only satisfy them with a victory against Poland and the Bronze medal.