Play-off matches started today at the Beach Handball World Championships in Kazan. Quarter-final games were played on Sunday morning.
The men's event kicked off with a game of Sweden and IR Iran. The Scandinavians confidently made it through the group and main stage to the semifinal. Team of IR Iran failed to put up a good fight against team Sweden – 18:12, 15:14 in favour of Scandinavians.
The main match of the men's event in the quarterfinals was an encounter of Brazil and Spain. The game was tough. At first team Brazil took the lead – 25:18, but they lost the second time against Spanish – 22:21. Thus, the outcome was decided in the shootout. Team Brazil was luckier as they gained an upper hand over their rivals – 16:14 – and continued their medal hunt. Especially unstoppable was Gil Pires of team Brazil, who earned 25 points.
A match of Croatia and Denmark turned out to be a very dramatic one. The Croats were evident favourites of the match but the Scandinavians managed to put up a great fight against the reigning World Champions. The Balkan team won the first set quite easily with a score of 25:22, and everything promised them an easy victory. However, at the second time team Denmark pulled themselves together and stroke back – 17:14. Everything was decided in the shootouts. The fight was tense but Croats made it till the end and won the shootouts – 8:6. Team Croatia remains the main favourite to grab the world champion title.
Game of Russia and Hungary attracted most of attention. Russians failed to please their spectators with the game. Team Russia had a chance to win the first set but the team of Vladimir Poletaev and Vladimir Kalashnikov did not seize it. As a result, they lost 20-21. In the second set the game went even worse for Russians. Team of Hungary confidently won the set – 21:14 and, finally, the match.
Thus, the following teams will play in semifinals:
Sweden – Brazil
Croatia – Hungary
The semifinals will be played at 17:30 on 28 July.
Text: Artem Lisovsky
Photo: HF/Stéphane Pillaud
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