The ‘Hispanos’ pave their way to the semifinals

Spain shines against Germany and takes advantage of Russia’s stumble, its next rival in less than 24 hours


The Spanish men’s handball team had a great match (23-29) this Thursday against Germany as the start of the ‘Main Round’ of the 2022 European Championship, the second and final phase that leads to the semifinals that the current champion is well on his way to.

Jordi Ribera’s team, twice defending the title, battled against the thickness caused by the German game and got through a key game, even more so due to Russia’s defeat to Sweden shortly before. Thus, Spain is the only one in Group II with four points, an income that they will seek to gain weight against the Russians this Friday.

The ‘Hispanics’, who were not spared from the annoyance of the coronavirus with the known infections a few hours before Joan Cañellas and Ian Tarrafeta, once again released a crushing version against adversity on the line of the first phase. Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas bolted (16 stops) in the second half and Germany, also diminished by COVID, was at the mercy of the champion.

From the beginning, Ribera’s men had to innovate in attack, but they really took command when they brought out their best defensive version. The hard German block and the continuous fouls cut the pace a lot, but between Casado, Figueras and Aleix Gómez they gave imagination to the Spanish attack. The saves of Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas also appeared in an intense exchange (4-6).

Germany commanded on few occasions and, within equality, the ‘Hispanics’ made a difference with a final stretch of great defense. Ten minutes in which they dried the Germans but did not take advantage of the many recovered balls. The haste in search of the goal prevented Spain from getting more out of it, although they went into the break with the score in their favor and better feelings (12-14).

Perhaps in the locker room there was some resentment for that lost opportunity, but in the resumption the script did not change. Gonzalo extended the German drought and Spain achieved that more comfortable lead in just five minutes (12-17). Alfred Gíslason opted to attack with seven but the Spanish goalkeeper wanted the leading role of the moment, with stops that made the Spanish attacks take off well.

The German team went 15 minutes without scoring and, with the entry into action of the wingers, especially Ferran Solé (12-19), the ‘Hispanics’ won a good mattress from the combination that their rival could not read. Wiencek, Köster or Weber, there was no particularly inspired German. Without losses and with clear ideas, the champion left a choral recital always involved in defense.

Zieker took some pride but the victory was more than tied by Ribera’s (19-27) with Maqueda also added to the party. Both teams thought about the final stages of the next match, without rest for either, with the points (4) and the pass to the semis on a plate for Spain, on this Friday (3:30 p.m.) another direct duel against a Russia (2) no margin of error.

–RESULT: GERMANY, 23 – SPAIN, 29. (12-14, at halftime).


GERMANY: Bitter (s), Rebmann (s), Golla (4), Wiencek (2), Reichmann (2), Wiede (1), Zerbe (1), Köster (3), Weber (2), Stutzke (2 ), Dahmke (1), Ernst (1), Steinert, Drux, Ziecker (4).

SPAIN: Pérez de Vargas (P), Corrales (P), Gurbindo (1), Peciña, Maqueda (6), Fernández, Solé (5), Figueras (4), Casado (5), García (3), Gómez ( 4), Ariño, Guardiola, Sánchez-Migallón, Márquez (1) and Odriozola.

–PARTIALS EVERY FIVE MINUTES: 3-3, 4-5, 8-8, 10-10, 12-13, 12-14 –break–, 12-16, 13-20, 14-21, 18- 24, 21-28, 23-29.

–REFEREES: Charlotte Bonaventura (FRA) and Julie Bonaventura (FRA). They excluded Golla for two minutes.

–PAVILLION: Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava, 1,683 spectators.

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