Handball World Cup: Qatar – Germany’s first nasty opponent

To: 01/12/2023 16:20

World Cup matches against Qatar – it was not a great experience for the DHB team in the past. The first German opponent no longer has the very high individual class in the team.

“How did you actually beat Qatar? » DHB sporting director Axel Kromer wouldn’t answer this question about Germany’s first opponent in Friday’s World Cup game (01/13/2023, live in the audio stream) during of Tuesday’s media event. He entrusted the matter to national coach Alfred Gislason, who joined him later.

But Kromer allowed himself to peek into the past. During his tenure as the national team’s assistant coach from 2014 to 2017, the DHB team met Qatar in two competitive World Cup matches. Once in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals and once in the 2017 World Cup round of 16.

Both matches were lost, the dream of German handball players ended twice as early as expected. What Kromer meant with this mental journey, he then made clear again: Please don’t consider Qatar as occasional customers.

DHB sporting director Axel Kromer talks about past World Cup defeats against Germany’s first opponents Qatar.

Qatar squad – many top naturalized players

The handball history of the desert state is quite well known in the handball world because it is extraordinary: Before the home World Cup in 2015, some top players were naturalized without further ado – which is much easier in handball than in football, for example – and went to the tournament with a very international Begin national team.

Zarko Markovic, goalkeepers Danijel Saric and Goran Stojanovic, Cuban Rafael Capote and Frenchman Bertrand Roine are some examples of the squad at the time. In view of this solid team and the home advantage, sporting success was immediate: the Qataris won the silver medal.

Qatar’s Capote sealed the end of Germany’s World Cup hopes

On the way, DHB selection was disabled. The top scorer in the match against the Germans was backcourt player Capote with eight goals. Two years later, in the Round of 16 of the World Cup, it was Capote again, this time sealing the end of the Germans’ title hopes with nine goals.

Kromer should be very keen not to lose his third World Cup game in DHB service to Capote – as he is now 35 but remains the most dangerous backcourt shooter under his Spain coach Valero Rivera, who has been in the job for a long time. . 2013 is.

Rafael Capote even more important because Frankis Marzo is absent

He needs Capote even more than Frankis Marzo, who also played for Cuba, who was the most successful backcourt thrower in the last two World Cup tournaments and even became the top scorer in 2021. , apparently due to disagreements, is not there on short notice.

National coach Alfred Gislason admitted, when he later spoke in detail about the next opponent, that he had shared parts of his video material with the opponent. “casual” had to when he found out that Marzo wouldn’t be there.

Marzo be a “very very good player” for Qatar and the burden in the left backcourt now falls more on Capote’s shoulders. But that was in the first game in which “everyone is still fresh” to be, not such a big deal for the Qataris, who are also wide on a total “pretty good” Frame decreed, continued the national coach.

Throwing power, sturdy – just uncomfortable

With the exception of Capote, the very big international stars are no longer part of the workforce. German handball fans are probably best known for goalkeeper Anadin Suljakovic, who has been under contract with HSG Wetzlar since 2019 but is clearly number two behind Till Klimpke. A name Gislason also mentioned when discussing the first challenge to his tournament selection is Ameen Zakkar – another long-distance player to watch for the German defence.

Not only because of the two unpleasant memories of 2017 and 2015, despite all the ambitions expressed, the German camp finally agrees: this opening opponent is not an occasional customer. “Qatar are tough to play. They offer a lot of things based on throwing power and physically strong players”captain Johannes Golla echoed the coach and sporting director.

Germany’s game against Qatar – directly extremely important

What is certain is that Qatar, which recently won the Asian Cup five times in a row, does not belong to the “exotic” or “small” category. But because the individual class of players like Saric, Marzo or Roine, which has often saved tight Rivera-Seven games in the past, is no longer available in this form, the DHB selection is the clear favourite.

Because Qatar is generally expected to be stronger than Germany’s third group opponent Algeria, it is highly likely that Qatar will advance to the main round with DHB. And since the points are taken against the opponents who reach the main round together from the preliminary round, this first match is also enormously important. And nobody in the German team wants to (re)look back on this tournament afterwards and say: “We ruined everything against Qatar.”

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