Day five of the World Korfball Championships U21 2018 recap

Today is the last day of the group stages in Budapest and especially for the middle and lower classified teams, it will be an important day. The Netherlands will win their group, with Belgium in second, while in the other group it will be Taiwan on top. For the other teams, there is still a lot to work for.

Starting today with Turkey against Portugal. Both teams won their games yesterday, but there is quite some difference between these two. Portugal will be playing for second place in the group, where Turkey will try not to finish on the bottom.
Turkey starts well and takes a bold 2-0 lead, but Portugal repairs the damage and takes the lead halfway through the first quarter. Initially Turkey can follow, but after the first ten minutes there is a small gap at 4-7. By the time we reach halftime, Portugal has extended their lead to 6-11. Not playing with their normal starting eight, they struggle a bit more than the past games, but still they seem to be able to win this one without too much problems. The five gap lead stays in tact after thirty minutes at 9-14, but in the final quarter Turkey pushes to get closer and slowly they do. Not close enough though, as Portugal secures a 16-19 win in the end, securing second place in the group and earning themselves at least a game for bronze. Player of the game is Laura Wagenmaker.

Hong Kong against The Netherlands will be one for the statistics. The only question is how they turn out to be. Will the Dutch still be the scoring machine of the last two days or will they have a bit of mercy with Hong Kong. We soon get our answer as the Dutch are scoring a lot of goals again. After ten minutes it is 1-15 already and even though they miss a few open chances in the second quarter, they lead 4-27 at halftime. After halftime, Hong Kong is able to score some more goals, which credits them for keep trying. The Netherlands seems a bit less focused though and ‘only’ score ten, so after thirty minutes, there is a 9-37 on the board. Koen van Roekel is well on his way being the tournaments topscorer with nine already and still ten minutes to go. He doesn’t score anymore though, but the Dutch still produce nine more goals, against one for Hong Kong. Final score is 10-48 and Sanne van Alsem is our player of the game, scoring four in the final quarter, bringing her total to eight and assisting some good goals in her zone.

China and Germany will face off next. Germany is falling a bit short this week and will want to turn that around today to possibly claim third place in the group and redeem themselves. China will not be easily overrun though and they show it already in the first quarter. China has the lead for the most part, but after ten minutes, there is a 5-5 on the board in this interesting game so far. In the second quarter it is China running away. With a very effective inward game, they get and convert many penalty shots and they supplement that with some scoring from outside. Yuran Fu, topscorer of the girls in the tournament, is a constant threat with her outside shooting. A combination Germany needs to find an answer for.
In the third quarter, Germany repeatedly comes back to four goals, but they don’t get a chance to come closer. Both teams have upped their game a bit and even though it is 22-17 now, the Germans still have a chance in this one. They come close, very close. A two goal difference at 24-22 is as far as they get though and China wins this game 26-23. Litian Cao is player of the game. A constant threat, winning most rebound and scoring seven this game, which is arguably the most exciting we have seen so far this tournament.

Because of the result of China, Hungary is certain of third place in the group and will probably face Taiwan a bit more relaxed. The Hungarian reserves are staring this game, where Taiwan seems to be at full strength. This shows as Taiwan is already ahead 1-7 after the first quarter, not even playing that well. In an uninspiring second quarter, there’s more of the same. Taiwan not playing well, but scoring seven again and Hungary knows to score two goals, but other than that, they have no chance against Taiwan. From 3-14 at halftime we go to 3-19 after thirty minutes. Hungary is trying very hard, but they are simply not strong enough to score today. In the end it is a clear 6-22 victory for Taiwan, but they will have to improve in tomorrow’s game against Belgium, otherwise they won’t play the final, which is their ambition. Shu Chi Chang is player of the game.

We end the day with England facing Belgium. England has one last chance to win a game in the group stages, but against Belgium, this is not a really expected. The very first attempt is a goal and building on that, Belgium leads 1-7 after the first quarter. Belgium takes it up a notch and goes to 19 goals at halftime. England is trying, but will have to do with two this quarter, ending the first half at 3-19, with Levi van den Dycke already scoring six for Belgium.
In the second half, England starts with a bit more luck and with that, they score some good goals that did not fall earlier. Belgium is cruising though, despite five substitutions, to a 7-29 score after thirty minutes. With the game played, the last quarter wasn’t that good anymore. It all ends today with a 9-35 win for Belgium. Even though he was subbed, Levi van den Dycke is player of the game with his eight goals.