Cross-final day at World Championship U21 recap

It’s cross-final day in Budapest. All the hard work of the last days results in the games being played today. For some disappointing, for some better than expected. Today, we will work ourselves up to the teams performing better this last week.

We start with two teams that did not want to start today. Germany and England are two countries that should do better, but the loser today will finish last, something they will both want to avoid. The winner will get a chance against Turkey tomorrow to finish ninth.
After a nervous start, in which Germany seems to have the upper hand, it is England opening the score. They get to 0-3 before Germany scores their first, thirty seconds before the break. The first quarter ends in 1-4 since England scores again a few seconds before the buzzer. Both teams keep working hard, and despite some passing errors, they both play reasonably well. The difference between both teams is the scoring. England seems to have some more luck compared to the Germans. With a 4-8 lead at halftime for England, this one is still not over though.
Germany starts the second half with a tactical switch as their best player today, Lena Gerlich, is moved to the other zone. This starts a good third quarter for Germany, in which they take the momentum of the game. Slowly they come back and look to be in control, but they are still 9-11 behind after thirty minutes. Can they turn it around in the final quarter? At 9-12 and with six minutes to go, coach Jan de Jager of Germany takes a time out in a last effort turn thing around. Not even a minute later, Germany is back to one point and another minute later, they tie the game 12-12.
England looks like securing the win at 14-12, but two goals of Johanna Treffts mean we will have extra time in the first possible game, as the score at fulltime is tied 14-14. It’s Golden Goal time now and Annie Boyd of England is the one clutching this game for England. Despite losing, player of the game is Lena Gerlich of Germany.

Then the home favorites enter the arena against Hong Kong. Hungary started well this tournament, but is dropping a bit in performance. Let’s see if they can bounce back against a reasonably consistent Hong Kong.
In the first quarter, Hungary takes the lead, but is countered anytime they score. It’s an even game and after ten minutes, Hungary leads with the smallest of margins at 5-4. It takes more than five minutes for the next goal. It is Hungary going to a two goal lead, but only a minute later, the game is tied again at 6-6. At the end of the second quarter, Hungary is back in the lead at 9-7.
After halftime it is Hong Kong turning things around. Hungary is still the better playing team, but does not score and Hong Kong does. Hungary flees into a time out at 9-11. Even though Hong Kong scores right after the time out, Hungary shows some resilience coming back to 12-13 after thirty minutes of play. It will be a mental struggle now, something Hungary has shown to find difficult in previous games.
They seem to be okay as they turn the score back in their advantage at 14-13. In an exciting quarter, the final minutes starts with a 17-15 lead for Hungary. This is the final score and Hungary will play for fifth place tomorrow. Player of the game is again Kristof Bellusz. He is the one helping his team to the win with some very important scoring and rebounding.

China will now face Czech Republic. With yesterday’s game in mind for China, this could be interesting I they can play at that level again. The Czechs had a day off yesterday, so that might give them a small advantage of rested players.
The Czechs have the better start as they lead 0-4 after six minutes, but China comes back to 2-4 at the end of the first quarter. They even take the lead at 5-4, but at halftime, Czech Republic has tied the game 6-6. Korfball Hero Renata Havlová has the task of defending Yuran Fu, topscorer of the girls this tournament. At this point, she has done a good job, keeping her at one field goal.
After halftime, it is China taking the lead at first, but after a lot of substitutions on both sides, the Czech turn it around and take a 9-11 lead after thirty minutes. They consolidate the lead for long, but with just one minute to go, China is back at 12-12 after two goals of Fu. At fulltime we have a 13-13 score, so we get ready for another golden goal. It is player of the game Litian Cao scoring the golden goal, securing China at least sixth place. They will play Hungary tomorrow.

Next is Taiwan against Belgium. Taiwan has spoken of their ambition to at least play the final, but then they have to beat Belgium today. Not the easiest of tasks, as Belgium played at a good level past week.
The start is close, but at 3-3 in the second minute, Belgium starts to create a gap, mainly because of better finishing. They walk away to 4-7, but at the end of the first quarter, Taiwan is back to 7-8. They cannot hold this though, as their finishing fails them in the second quarter. Admittedly, Belgium is tightening the defense a bit, so Taiwan has difficulty scoring. Belgium on the other hand also doesn’t score too many, but still extend their lead. At halftime the score is 8-12.
In quarter three Belgium can consolidate their lead, even though Taiwan comes back to two goals. Ya Hui Cho has a very strong quarter in scoring, but after thirty minutes, Belgium is still leading by three at 15-18. In the final quarter the Taiwanese resistance is broken. Belgium slowly builds their lead and they win 17-25. Tine Pirquin, good for five goals, is player of the game.

The last game of the day is between Portugal and The Netherlands. The Netherlands will win, but it will be interesting to see how much opposition the Portuguese can give and if they can stay positive to tomorrow’s game for bronze.
Portugal plays very opportunistic and with some success. They keep the Dutch from scoring too many goals. They give good pressure in defense, which makes it just a little bit more difficult for The Netherlands to score like they normally do. In attack, Portugal plays quite well, but lacks in finishing and rebounding, meaning that they get very few chances and they can convert only one. It is 1-7 after ten minutes. The same happens in the second quarter. Portugal actually plays quite well, but just isn’t strong enough against the best in the world. At halftime the score is 3-15.
Portugal keeps pressuring the Dutch in defense and partly because of that they keep them on four goals in the third quarter. Quite a good result. On the other hand they do not score. Still trying to play clean and organized in attack, but they’re finishing lets them down. After thirty minutes the score is 3-19 and it looks like Portugal can keep the Dutch under thirty. They just manage that with a 5-29 score, which actually is a good result, defensively, for Portugal. It’s a shame they’re finishing wasn’t that good today.
Player of the game is Sanne van der Werf of The Netherlands.