A.Say goodbye instead of leaving: Germany’s handball players are threatened with premature travel home at the World Cup. Due to the second tournament bankruptcy at 28:32 (13:16) against European champions Spain at the start of the main round on Thursday in Cairo, the team of national coach Alfred Gislason has only minimal chances of making it into the quarter-finals and not progressing in their own Hands. With 2: 4 points, the DHB selection, for which Timo Kastening was the best thrower with seven goals, only took fourth place in Group I.
In the fight for a ticket for the knockout round, the European Championship fifth of the previous year has to win his final duels against Brazil on Saturday and Poland on Monday and at the same time on mistakes of the still unbeaten top duo Hungary (6-0) and Spain (5: 1) hope.
After the bitter 28:29 against Hungary at the end of the preliminary round, Gislason demanded a significant increase in his protégés, especially on the defensive. “We have to do a much better defense, then we get a better goalkeeping performance,” said the 61-year-old Icelander shortly before kick-off.
That worked quite well in the initial phase. Andreas Wolff, who hardly got a ball against the Hungarians, fended off the first two throws. But it quickly became clear that the German inner block was once again unsafe. World Cup newcomer Sebastian Firnhaber walked on the verge of disqualification early after two quick time penalties and had to go to the bench.
The seasoned Spaniards were always free to finish and took the lead with three goals for the first time at 9: 6 (15th) – also because the DHB team missed too many chances in attack. The lack of efficiency in the first half was the major shortcoming of the German players, who repeatedly failed because of the outstanding Rodrigo Corrales in the goal of the European champions.
Wolff did not come close to this performance, but was often left alone by his front men. A loud outburst of anger from the 29-year-old, who was completely frustrated and had to vacate his place for Johannes Bitter shortly before the break, didn’t help.
With the restart, the DHB selection started with much more conviction – both in attack and in defense. After 38 minutes, the Gislason team took the lead again for the first time at 20:19. Thanks to a more variable attacking game, to which youngster Juri Knorr also contributed, and a much better chance to exploit this, this lasted for the time being.
In addition, Oldie Bitter was in a brilliant mood in the German box. The 38-year-old not only thwarted several great opportunities including a seven-meter, but also repeatedly motivated his people in front. The reward was a three-goal cushion (25: 22/43.). But then the German team suffered a period of weakness that lasted for minutes, which the Spaniards mercilessly punished with a 6-0 run. The DHB team did not recover from this setback.