China, Iran, Belgium and Germany put their opponents on notice at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Malmö , Sweden, on Tuesday (5 June), winning both their games on the third day of group play.
In group A, the Belgian men beat Sweden 9-2 in a painful first loss for the hosts.
Belgium dominated and were 6-0 up at the break, going unanswered until the final minutes of the second half. The Vanhove brothers Tom and Bruno, Klison Mapreni and Youssef Bihi all bagged goals for Belgium.
Later in the day they took on Australia with Bruno Vanhove finding the net seven times. Australia had flourishes of brilliance but it was not enough to halt the Belgian charge and the game finished 11-4.
Tom said: “The first aim was to get into the quarter-finals, that shouldn’t be a problem with our points with five wins. So now we look a bit more up and try to catch the semi-finals and hope to be in top three.”
Bruno said: “We’ve prepared for this tournament with a preparation tournament in Malmö in May so we could experience the courts and the venue, and of course we prepared with the national team regular training sessions together in Antwerp.
“Until now, we have had a really great tournament, we’ve won everything so we’re feeling great. We’re in a good mood so we hope we can continue on that path.”
Belgium are the group A leaders with a clean sheet of five successive wins so far. China are six points behind in second.
Also in group A, Argentina put in a valiant effort against 2010 silver medallists China, but it was not to be for the debutants. China’s attack proved too much for them to handle with Chen Liangliang sealing a hat-trick to bring the score to 10-2.
Speaking after the game Mingyao Hu said: “The game was hard. We both [teams] worked hard, but finally we won and we appreciate their effort. It was not very hard to fight them but not very easy either.”
In their second game China triumphed over Algeria 7-3. This time is was Yang Mingyuan who starred in his country’s attack with four goals.
A high-scoring game in group B saw Iran dominate 14-6 against Canada. Hasan Jafari was Iran’s top scorer with seven goals.
Iran went onto beat Japan in their second game of the day. Japan were 5-1 down at the end of the first half but managed to score seven in the second as Iran’s defence weakened. The deficit proved too much for Japan to overcome however, and Iran added a further six goals of their own to finish 8-11 up.
Germany have now won four of the five group B games at the Baltiska Hallen to put them second and have really entered their stride. They claimed an 11-1 win over Egypt after Felix Rogge found the net five times.
In their match against Czech Republic they dominated once again. This time Michael Feistle was their top scorer with four successful strikes towards a 11-3 win.
Other teams were also in action in the four men's and women's groups on Tuesday.
Men – group B
The USA got their first victory of Malmö 2018 on the board against Czech Republic, winning 8-3. The 2014 bronze medallists’ score included two hat-tricks for Grej Pesjaka and Daryl Walker.
There was not much to separate defending champions Brazil and Tokyo 2020 hosts Japan in the first 12 minutes of their game on Tuesday. However with the score 2-2, the game opened up in the second half as Brazil unleashed their striking skills to take a three goal lead.
Japan tried to fight back but the duo of Leomon Moreno and Alex Sousa were in excellent form. The Brazilians won 9-5.
“In this time we can exercise our power against Brazil, who are number 1 in the world, so we can now compare ourselves to them,” Yoshu Nobusawa of Japan said. “We still have preliminary games so must put everything towards the win and we are aiming for a higher place.”
Brazil went on to beat Canada 10-0 to remain unbeaten at the top of the group.
Men – group A
Turkey overcame Argentina 7-1 in their match. The Moles tunnelled deep into the Turkish defence early on to score first but Turkey took over from there. Ebubekir Siddik Kara was his team’s top goal scorer with four goals.
Lithuania pummelled the Australian defence in a quick scoring game that saw them win with a 10-goal lead. Australia tried their best to respond but the throwing skills of Lithuanians such as Nerijus Montvydas proved too hot to handle. The game ended 18-8 to Lithuania.
Mohamed Mokrane shone for Algeria once again in their close tie with Turkey. With a 6-1 lead into the second half, Turkey came alive with three successive goals from Caner Keles and then one from Ekrem Gundogu. That brought the Turkish to within one goal of their opponents. However Mokrane dealt the final blow for Algeria to secure a 7-5 win.
Women – group C
Brodie Smith was Australia’s top scorer in their 5-1 win over Sweden.
Continuing her solid performance from previous days, Sevda Altunoluk contributed five goals to Turkey’s 11-1 win over hosts Sweden.
Third place Turkey just lead Australia in the group on goal difference, hovering above the qualification line to advance to Thursday’s quarter-finals with two games still to play.
Russia remain the group leaders, followed by Japan, as the two teams enjoyed a day off.
Women – group D
Brazil stayed second in their group on goal difference after just edging Canada 2-1 in their only game of the day.
The Brazilians struggled to find their way past the Canadian defence, and did not manage to do so until the second half. Two neat shots from Gleyse Henrique and Ana Carolina Custodio saw Brazil win 2-1.
China are in a stronger position in the group thanks to a good performance against Greece, their first win. Wang Chunghua had an excellent game, scoring eight of China’s 11 goals, while Greece only managed one in reply.
The USA enjoyed a day off on Tuesday but still lead the group on goal difference.
The group stages of the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships take place from 3-7 June. The quarterfinals will get underway on 7 June before the medal matches on 8 June.
Matches will be played across two venues on the same complex - the Baltiska Hallen and Baltiska träningshallen. The medallists from both the men's and women's will qualify for Tokyo 2020.
A livestream and results are available at www.wcg18.se
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