After more than two weeks of non-stop action in Denmark and Germany, the IHF men’s World Championships are down to the medal finals, coming Sunday (27th) at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning (DEN).
The 15,000-seat arena will be full of Danish fans cheering on their team in the final against Norway, with both teams trying to win their first world title. But both have been close:
● Denmark: Runner-up in 1967, 2011 and 2013
● Norway: Runner-up in 2017
Denmark got to the final with a 38-30 semifinal win over tournament favorite France, and the Norwegians managed a 31-25 victory over tournament co-host Germany. Mikkel Hansen scored 12 goals for the Danes, who led 21-15 at halftime and managed to extend their edge in the second half. Norway was led in scoring by Magnus Abelvik Rod, who had 7.
In the second round-robin, Germany (4-0-1) and France (3-1-1) qualified into the semis from Group I, with Croatia (3-2-0) qualifying for the fifth-place game and Spain (2-3-0) for the seventh-place match, In Group II, Denmark continued its perfect streak at 5-0-0, with Norway second at 4-1-0. Sweden finished 3-2-0 and will play for fifth, and Egypt (1-3-1) will play for seventh.
So Denmark enters the final with a clean, 9-0-0 record and has outscored its opponents by a 286-201 total or an average of 32-22. This will be the second match between Denmark and Norway; the Group C match was won by Denmark, 30-26, with Hansen scoring 14 goals and Goran Sogard Johannesson leading Norway with five.
France and Germany will play for third, also on Sunday. They both qualified from Group A and played back on 15 January to a 25-25 tie. France’s Kentin Mahe led all scorers with nine.
Hansen has been the runaway top scorer in the tournament with 65 goals, trailed by Ferran Sole (ESP: 51) and Norway’s Magnus Jondal (50). Norway’s secondary scorers have been Sander Sagosen (48) and Rod (41). Denmark’s second scorer has been Rasmus Lauge Schmidt, with 40 goals.
NBC’s Olympic Channel has the medal games on Sunday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time (bronze) and 11:30 a.m. (gold). Look for game reports here.