Only one step remains before the final battles for the medals begin: the 2018 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship quarter-finals. Following the President’s Cup matches, the day in Hall Fonix opens with the 11/12 play-off between Brazil and Sweden – then the quarter-finals take centre stage.
Hosts Hungary will meet traditional rivals Romania in the first quarter-final, before the Netherlands take on the 2016 Youth World Championship winning squad, Russia. In the last quarter-final in Hall Fonix, Norway will play France.
All matches will be live streamed here.
Feature quarter-final: Russia vs Netherlands – July 11, 18:30 local time
In what is a very tough competition, where all the quarter-finalists appear to have a strong chance of reaching the next stage, this is perhaps the most interesting battle of the day in Hall Fonix. Russia are a dominant force at Hungary 2018, having collected only victories on their path to the quarter-final. They topped Group B after beating People’s Republic of China, Chile, Iceland, Slovenia and Republic of Korea.
In their eighth-final, Russia had little trouble defeating Brazil by a 12-goal margin. Indeed, the only game Russia have not won by more than 10 goals was against Slovenia in the preliminary round. They finished the preliminary round with the lowest number of goals scored against them of any side at the Junior World Championship.
At the other end of the court, Russia’s attack is well-organised and powerful, with a deep squad that means they have more than one strong option in every position. Any change in the line-up has little impact on the quality of Russia’s game – an asset that will be one of their biggest strengths as they aim to progress through the knock-out round to the trophy match.
The Netherlands finished second in Group C behind defending champions Denmark. They took dominant wins over Paraguay and Angola in the preliminary round, edged Romania by two, and drew with Japan. Their only loss was to group winners Denmark, by one goal.
The Netherlands have showed a bit less consistency in their performances than Russia, but there was no doubt who deserved the quarter-final place available in their first knock-out match. The team defeated Sweden clearly, 30:22, to clinch their place in the quarter-final.
When these sides met at the 2017 European championship, Russia defeated the Netherlands 25:20 in the main round.
The Netherlands have already beaten the result of the previous generation at the Junior World Championship: ninth in 2016. Russia have a way to go before they do the same – and can only do so by raising the trophy, as they were the runners-up two years ago at home in Moscow.
Quarter-final: Romania vs Hungary – July 11, 16:15 local time
Romania edged Croatia by three goals, while Hungary enjoyed a dominant win over Slovenia in the eighth-finals – in the end at least. It took some time for the hosts to find their form in the first knock-out match, as they trailed behind Slovenia for much of the first half. After they regrouped in the break, Hungary had little trouble taking charge, and they finished with a 14-goal win that should be an ominous sign for Romania.
Hungary and Romania met at the 2017 European championship for this age group last summer, with Hungary taking a 26:21 victory in the preliminary round.
Quarter-final: Norway vs France – July 11, 20:45 local time
Norway had one of the closest eighth-final encounters at Hungary 2018, playing a tight game against Iceland which was tense until the last two minutes when it became clear Norway would hold on to the buzzer. France faced a challenge from Japan in their eighth-final, but also overcame their opponents to clinch the quarter-final place in the end.
These teams have not met in an official major international competition – neither the European championship nor the 2016 Youth World Championship. This Norway squad ranked ahead of France at the Youth World Championship in Slovakia, where the Scandinavian team placed fourth and France were eliminated by Russia in the quarter-final. The following summer, France won the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2017, where Norway finished seventh.
11/12 placement match: Brazil vs Sweden – July 11, 14:00 local time
Both Brazil and Sweden endured clear defeats in their eighth-finals. While Brazil had a tough match against the squad that won the 2016 Youth World Championship, Russia, Sweden were defeated by the Netherlands with an eight-goal margin.
When these sides met at Slovakia 2016, Sweden won narrowly, 22:19, after Brazil held the upper hand at half-time.