Alexandria – Slovenia opened their campaign at the World Men’s Handball Championship in Egypt on Thursday with a convincing 51:29 win against South Korea, getting a much-needed confidence boost ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Russia.
Slovenia, who have been put among the medal favourites at the tournament, showed who is who already in the first half, building a nine-goal lead against the physically inferior South Koreans before the break.
Slovenia did not let go in the second half and even managed to increase the lead and and the match with a whopping 22-goal margin, which is by far the most convincing win ever for Slovenia at the world championships.
Previously, Slovenia’s record wins were 17-goal beatings of Kuwait in 2007 and of Angola in 2017.
Slovenia distributed the scoring load among all players, while Dragan Gajić and Blaž Janc stood out with ten and nine goals, respectively.
Janc said that the team executed many attractive plays and that “the ice has been broken”, with Slovenia showing their true face after some poor performances in the qualifiers for the European championship.
Miha Zarabec, who was declared the player of the match, said half-jokingly that it was a “practice game” and that Slovenia’s win was never threatened. The next opponent Russia will be much tougher and the “first serious test” for Slovenia.
Head coach Ljubomir Vranješ noted that the difference in size and skill in favour of Slovenia was obvious, and he also praised the focus of the Slovenian players from the first to last minute despite the opponent being apparently inferior.
With the victory, Slovenia took the first place in Group H, as Russia and Belarus earned one point each after a 32:32 draw earlier today.