Denmark demolishes Hungary and sets new record
Denmark are now unbeaten in 26 games at the World Men’s Handball Championships. Their last defeat came in 2017.
Tantalisingly, for neutrals, that was against Hungary, so there was a certain amount of trepidation before yesterday’s quarter-final. There needn’t have been.
Sixty pulsating minutes later, Denmark had won 40-23 to set a new record for the tournament’s longest unbeaten streak.
Thanks to nine goals apiece from Mathias Gidsel and Mikkel Hansen, the Danes ran rampant, handing Hungary the second largest defeat in the knockout phase of the tournament’s history.
Hansen, who was celebrating his 250th cap, scored a brilliant opening goal to set the tone, applying topspin to divert the ball around the keeper. It’s a goal that has probably already notched up millions of replays on YouTube.
“We played very physically with their linemen, who never really got going. Neither did their back line. They had an incredibly hard time getting chances,” keeper Niklas Landin, with 12 saves yesterday, told TV2.
“It was easier than we might have expected. After an almost perfect first half, there was not much to come from the Hungarian side.”
Same semi-finalists as 2021
For the first time since 1964, the four same teams will be again be in the semis: Denmark, Spain, Sweden and France.
But it will be the first time in history that it’s going to be the same semis, as Denmark will again face Spain and co-hosts Sweden will again match up with France.
Spain will be tired after an incredible game against Norway, who were leading by a goal and had the ball in hand with just six seconds to go.
But then the referee blew for a foul and Spain equalised on the buzzer. The Spaniards won 35-34 in extra time and will want their revenge against the Danes after their defeat in 2021.
“It will be a big challenge. It’s a team that play well together and have a polished routine. And they have some players who can really dish it out on the day,” DR’s handball expert Lars Krogh Jeppesen said.
All of this means Mikkel Hansen’s team are still in contention for a record third consecutive title.
They could take a massive step towards rewriting history against Spain tomorrow, who they face at 18:00 in Gdánsk, Poland.