Day two of World Championship U21

After an interesting first day in Budapest, it is time for day two. There were a few upsets yesterday. Let’s see if today holds some surprises as well.

We start with an interesting game between Czech Republic and England. If the Czechs can play like the first quarter yesterday, they have a good chance against England, that will have to bounce back after yesterday’s disappointment. Both Korfball Heroes Renata Havlová and Michal Marek are in the starting eight.
Initially, England takes the lead with 1-3, mainly because Czech Republic is unable to convert their chances. England starts with defending quite tightly, but once the Czechs get used to that, they finish the first quarter ahead with 5-3. They extend their lead, mostly because of the Czech women, to 10-5 at halftime. Renat´ Havlova and Gabriela Hurdalkova both score three, thus scoring more than half of the Czechs goals. England will need to do some damage repairs in the ten minutes of halftime.
Unfortunately for the game, England seems to have lost their confidence and is not able to repair the damage. Czech Republic can afford themselves a sloppy quarter ending in a 13-7 score. In the final quarter, England is not able to score anymore and the Czech win quite easily in the end. Final score is 20-7. Hurdalkova finishes with six goals and Havlova with five. Even though they are important contributors to this win, it is Michal Marek, with his strong rebounding and his six interceptions in the second half who is player of the game. All in all a solid performance for Czech Republic and England will be quite disappointed with this game and the tournament overall. With games against Belgium and the Netherlands still coming, they seem to be finishing last in the group.

Next up are Portugal and China. Portugal had a good win against Germany yesterday and would want to build on that, where China was a bit disappointing yesterday. This could be thriller, but in the first quarter it is clear that Portugal is the better team. After an early 0-2 lead for China, Portugal gets on fire and they are unstoppable for the Chinese. They go to 8-2 before China can answer with their third goal at the end of the quarter. Captain Sebastiao Condado leads a very spirited Purtugal through a good first quarter ending in 8-3. They can’t keep their effectiveness is the second quarter though. Combined with some risks taken in defense, both score three and we reach halftime at 11-6.
After the break China starts strong, but Portugal take over after a few minutes with another strong quarter, in which Hugo Fernandes bring his total to six before being substituted at the start of the fourth quarter. Score after thirty minutes is 20-11. Portugal only has to consolidate their lead in the fourth quarter and that is exactly what they do. Some players are rested and the reserves also get their minutes. Portugal wins the game in the end with 24-14 and they get their second win this tournament. Hugo Fernandes wins the player of the game, despite good competition from his captain Condado.

The third game is probably the most played game in Korfball. Historically the final for the tournaments, but in recent years, Belgium has fallen a bit on the ranking, so they face off against top favorites The Netherlands in the group stage.
The first quarter is quite close. Although you can tell in takes more effort for Belgium to score, they play well and even force The Netherlands to a shot clock violation. The Dutch lead though after ten minutes with 8-6. At halftime, the difference is still two goals with 11-9. The Dutch are having more trouble scoring, although they do get their chances. Belgium is the harder working team at the moment and that keeps them close to The Netherlands for now.
After halftime, Belgium is able to close the gap to 12-12, but it seems to wake The Netherlands as they take the lead again and extend it to 18-12 after thirty minutes of play. They hold on to the lead and win the game, but not as convincing as they might have hoped. There is some frustration and Leander Zwolle receives a dumb yellow card, but the 21-14 victory is deserved.
For player of the game, it is actually a duo. Niels Delbeke of Belgium and Tim Flokstra of The Netherlands had some interesting duels for the rebound this game.

Game number four sees the home team face Turkey. Hungary won yesterday’s game and will try to keep that feeling today against the Turks that were a bit disappointing yesterday. It is Turkey opening the score this game, but Hungary counters quite quickly. After that, Hungary is the better team, but there is still a lot to improve on. A 6-2 lead is decent though. Maybe they can improve during the game, just like yesterday. Unfortunately, they don’t reach the same level as yesterday, but they lead comfortably at halftime with 9-3.
Quarter three is for Turkey. They come back a little bit to 11-6, but it looks like Hungary will go for win number two this tournament. Kristof Ohlmann is leading the score for Hungary with five goals and is well on his way to claim player of the game. In the end, Hungary wins comfortably with 19-7. Tomorrow they will face Germany in what an important game for Hungary. Ohlmann finishes the game with seven goals, claims player of the game and with that is one of the few highlights in this game, together with a very young Anna Laki making a short appearance and scoring two. Might be one to watch in the future.

Last up today are Taiwan and Germany. Taiwan of course clear favorites, and they show it right away. After the first ten minutes are up, they lead 7-1 with Han Sheng Chiu scoring three goals. Germany can’t keep up with the Taiwanese. In the second quarter Taiwan can extend the lead to 16-5 at halftime, without even playing that well. Chiu is on five goals already. He won’t be the only topscorer after today, because he is substituted in halftime.
In the third quarter it is still Taiwan dominating greatly. Still not playing at their best, they extend their lead to 22-6 with ten minutes of play left. Those ten, a bit uninspired minutes see us to a final score of 25-7. Taiwan definitely not playing their best and hopefully that counts for Germany as well. A similar score to Turkey’s defeat against Taiwan is not something they would have targeted. Maybe tomorrow, in a more equal game against Hungary, they can show the real strength of Germany.
Although playing only one half, Han Sheng Chiu is player of the game. Topscorer after two games (together with Hungary’s Kristof Ohlmann), scoring five in twenty minutes today.