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After a winning start vs Angola, Qatar to take on Japan today

After a winning start vs Angola, Qatar to take on Japan today

TNN/IHF
Doha/Borg El Arab (Egypt)
The reigning Asian champions Qatar, who began their 27th Men’s Handball World Championship campaign in Egypt in style with a 30-25 win over Angola on Friday, will next face underdogs Japan in their next Group C clash in Alexandria on Sunday.
While Qatar were slow off the blocks in the opener, they put up an impressive show much to their ranking and reputation.
Runners-up at the world championships in Doha in 2015, Qatar face huge expectations despite their preparations being affected during to the ongoing pandemic.
Their performance in the opening match, however, augurs well for Spanish coach Valero Rivera and the team.
Qatar’s defence and attack both stood out against Angola. Qatar played an aggressive 6-0 defence, interrupting the Angola attack already at the nine-meter line.
Angola answered with an agile 3-2-1 defence with good goalkeeping from Giovany Muachissengue between the posts. However, his counterpart Danijel Saric was even better, finishing with a 42 percent save rate.
“The teamwork was the key to win this game today. Our defence was very well and we improved our attack in the second half”, said a satisfied goalkeeper Saric.
After the timeout, Qatar scored three goals in a row and took control of the match.
Left wing and ‘Player of the Match’ Ahmad Madadi, said, “We came with a lot of motivation into this tournament. We miss some players, but of course the whole team knew what happened two years ago. We played very serious from beginning to end and I can only congratulate my team.”
Meanwhile, Japan played out a thrilling 29-29 draw against Croatia thanks to their goalkeeper Yuta Iwashita.
The 2020 AHF Men’s Asian Championship bronze medallists remained the stronger and faster team in the first half, led by Yuto Agarie, who scored his five goals in the first 30 minutes and was also voted Player of the Match.
Japan coach Dagur Sigurdsson, applauded his team, saying, “I’m really happy and satisfied. That was historical for us and I’m just incredible happy and hope that we can continue like this. It was extremely important for the team and I’m very proud of all of them.
“Of course I would have liked to see my team win this game but you can’t forget who we have faced. They (Croatia) are a really strong team and that’s why it really feels like a victory for us,” he added.
Last week, President of the Qatar Handball Association (QHA) Ahmad Mohamed Al Shaabi said Asian champions Qatar will be aiming to top the preliminary group.
“We must aim to win the three matches in the first phase because any loss will make our mission difficult in the second round. Therefore, it is important to lead the group in order to maintain our chances and rhythm in the second stage,” said Al Shaabi. “Despite the difficulties we have faced in our preparation, nothing can diminish our desire to achieve better results,” he added.
In recent years, Qatar have established themselves as the dominant Asian force.
Qatar have won the Asian title thrice and reached the World Championship final on home soil in 2015.

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