Handball WM 2017 Frankreich: In der Kindarena Rouen beginnen die Spiele der Vorrunden-Gruppe C bei der Handball-Weltmeisterschaft. Deutschlands „bad boys“ um Kapitän Uwe Gensheimer und Keeper Andreas Wolff greifen in das WM-Turnier gegen Ungarn ein.
13.01.2017 – France Handball / SPORT4FINAL / Frank Zepp:
Handball WM 2017 Frankreich: Der erste Spieltag im Überblick.
Group C, Rouen, Kindarena
14:00 Belarus vs Chile
Belarus will start their France 2017 campaign without their top star, six-time Champions League winner Siarhei Rutenka. After an injury at the EURO 2016, the former Barcelona left back did not have a club for several months, but now was signed by a side in Qatar. Still, one Rutenka will be on court, as Siarhei’s brother Dzianis is among the 16 nominated players.
The match is the encounter of team ranked 30th in the All-time World Championship ranking (Belarus) vs the side ranked 35 (Chile). Both opponents were part of the Presidents’
Cup at the 2015 World Championship in Qatar. Belarus lost the final against the Czech Republic, Chile ended up finishing 23rd at their third appearance on the world stage after only one win against Algeria.
For the first time ever, Chile reached a final of a Pan-American Championship last year, which they narrowly lost against Brazil. This top result was the first job of their new coach, Spanish Mateo Garralda, five-time Champions league winner with FC Barcelona, and led to top players such as the Feuchtmann brothers and Rodrigo Salinas returning to the team. The only current Chilean player, who has lifted the CL trophy, is Marco Oneto, a former Barca player too.
17:45 Germany vs Hungary
One coach arrived last year, one coach will end his mission after the 2017 World Championship: While Spaniard Xavier Sabate (parallel coach of Hungarian powerhouse Telekom Veszprem) took over the Hungarian side in spring 2016 succeeding Talant Dujshebaev, Icelandic Dagur Sigurdsson will have his last major event with Germany ending his 28-month spell to join the Japanese side. Fact: Both coaches steered their current or former clubs to the Champions League FINAL4 at Cologne: Sigurdsson with Fuchse Berlin in 2012, Sabate with Veszprem in 2016.
Their last duel ended in a 29:19 victory for Germany in the main round of the EURO 2016, which the Germans ended up winning. The first major duel dates back to the 1936 Olympic Games, when Germany took gold after a 22:0 opening win against the finally fourth ranked Hungarians in the outdoor version. The only medal Hungarian men’s team ever won was silver at the 1986 World Championship, while the Germans are three-time World Champion (1938/outdoor, 1978, 2007) and twice EURO champions (2004, 2016).
While Sabate has nearly all his stars ready for France including legendary right back Lazlo Nagy, Germany suffer from some problems: the right backs Fabian Wiede and Steffen Weinhold are injured, three European champions (Dissinger, Strobel, Pekeler) stepped down from playing for the national team, team captain Uwe Gensheimer is currently is with his family after the death of his father.
20:45 Croatia vs Saudi Arabia
The statistics say it all: Two-time Olympic champions and 2003 World Champions face the 34th ranked team. While Croatia at least finished among the top six in the previous 15 top events (Olympic Games, Worlds and EUROs) including several silver and bronze medals, the best ever World Championship result of the Saudi team was the 19th position in 2013 (after beating their arch rivals from Qatar in the placement match).
Their opener in Rouen will be the personal highlight for Saudi coach Nenad Kljaic, who was Olympic gold medallist with Croatia in 1996, being coached by his father Velimir. Nenad Kljaic later on coached the Croatian record champions Zagreb, before he had his first contract with the Saudi side four years ago. On the other hand, Croatian coach Zeljko Babic stepped down after missing out on the Olympic semi-final at Rio, but then again was announced head coach of the squad, nicknamed “the Cowboys” (Kauboji).
Croatia need to replace their line player and defence specialist Marino Maric, who broke his foot end of December. While the players of their squad are all signed by top clubs all over Europe – like Domagoj Duvnjak at Kiel, Luka Stepancic at PSG and Filip Ivic at Kielce – all Saudi players are contracted by clubs in their home country.