- The German national handball team wins their first major round of the World Cup with 24:19 against Iceland.
- Although the team shows a nervous appearance, the hopes for the semi-finals are absolutely intact.
- Click here for the results of the Handball World Cup.
The return of the German handball players in their "living room", as the Cologne Arena is called in Handballkreisen was celebrated with riot. A special story connects the team with the hall in the district Deutz, Germany was 2007 world champion and at least the then semi-final thriller against France, many believe, would not have been won without the support of the ranks. Again nearly 6,000 more spectators than in the preliminary round in Berlin, where 13,500 spectators fit in, crowd in Cologne on the pitch. And many a national player looked aggrieved during the game from the floor to the ranks because of such a roaring noise.
The intimate relationship between the Cologne and the German handball players got the Icelanders on Saturday night in the first World Cup main round match. Although the DHB team made at times a very nervous appearance, after the 24:19 (14:10), the hopes for the semifinals at the home World Cup but absolutely intact. "The audience has carried us through the game, these are moments of which I will still tell my children," said a visibly touched Paul Drux after the match of the ARD.
The bill is now clear: another victory and a draw in the two games against Croatia (Monday, 20.30) or Spain (Wednesday, 20.30) could be enough to make it to the semi-finals; for the Icelanders, the tournament will be over.
The Germans took the lead by midfielder Martin Strobel, but that helped only briefly to control the prevailing shakiness in front of this backdrop. Although all the important parts of the team got off to a good start: Steffen Fäth turned his first two balls out of the back, Uwe Gensheimer exploited left-winger, Hendrik Pekeler also caught the ball with one hand and steered him into the goal. When Patrick Wiencek blocked a throw from Aron Palmarsson in the middle of the defense and then raised his hands, the 19,250 spectators in the arena answered with a roar as if the finals had just been made perfect. But Prokop's team gave the gained advantage with some inaccuracies out of hand.
After the break Iceland's top man Palmarsson remains on the bench
Two deferred appearances in the first ten minutes contributed to it, first had to Fabian Wiede from the square, then Wiencek – the Icelanders came back so (12 Min, 5: 5). Even took the lead when Gensheimer successfully positioned to goalkeeper Bjorgvin Pall Gustavsson failed and Palmarsson brought a hip throw to the finish. When Fäth also committed a foul, the entire German bank sprang up. Could this game also go wrong?
The Icelanders had previously been considered the most feasible opponent in the main round group. The small country had lost its first two games at this World Cup, against the heavyweights Croatia (27:31) and Spain (25:32), and then with victories over Bahrain, Japan and Macedonia still rescued in the main round. With a clear game, however, the team of coach Gudmundur Gudmundson managed to put the German team before problems. It took until the 25th Minute, before the DHB team again could throw a three-goal lead. Now also on Friday nachnominierte Kai Häfner mixed in the left backcourt. With 14:10 it went into the break. "Break time was very important and we always knew that if we do our best, we will beat Iceland at home," Prokop said after the game.
At half-time the birthday of Joachim Deckarm was celebrated, the world champion of 1978, who suffered a severe head injury a year later in a fall on the concrete floor of a Hungarian handball hall and since then relies on outside help.
After a whistle sweep, Iceland's top scorer Palmarsson remained on the bench with a wound, but the German game remained tricky. Wiencek did not bring a five-meter pass in pace reaction to Pekeler, then failed Gensheimer with a seven -meter lift to Gustavsson. However, the defense was well and the Icelanders also played flawed: When Kristjansson only hit the bottom of the bar, Paul Drux threw the ball over the entire field in the empty Icelandic goal (36 Minutes, 16:11).
Once again Iceland came up to two goals, once again the German team resisted. Only when goalkeeper Andreas Wolff parried a free throw of Sivaldi Gudjonsson and Drux with the hit to 23:17 the first six-goal lead of the evening threw out (56.), the audience could free up and sing "Viva Colonia". The work victory for the main round start was done. But on Monday to stand up to the strong Croats, but a performance increase will be necessary.