Every team has now played 3 matches and the Main Round Tables are starting to take shape. I have a few observations as does my colleague Christer Ahl in Sweden.
It looks like the European powers France, Spain and Germany will qualify for the Main Round.
“The group headed by France, Spain and Germany was/is supposed to be the “Group of Death”; after I watched GER-ESP and TUN-EGY last night, I would say that the label is deserved but in a very different sense!! at least in the last 10 years, I have never seen any one of these 4 teams being so weak Spain were listless and allowed Germany to stay even or move ahead on the basis of playing with much more passion and energy and using in part a good defense and a strong GK, Bitter; but when the game seemed decided, with 10 minutes to go the German energy was gone, or they had a black-out, so Spain could score 7 goals without answer and win easily.
I have seen many games between the rivals TUN-EGY but this was the worst one; TUN missed several top players from recent years, and their `star’ Tej was a shadow of himself; they were still able to take a 10-7 lead against a sleepwalking EGY team; but then EGY found their rhythm a bit wile TUN got more and more desperate, so EGY scored 9 straight goals and that was i.t”
Iceland, Norway and Hungary look to be on course to advance. Austria and Japan could still make some noise, those. Japan looked sharp in their earlier win against Austria, but were pummeled by Iceland, who had no problem exploiting Japan’s aggressive, but risky defense.
Denmark and Croatia seem to be locks for the Main Round, while Serbia has the upper hand for the 3rd spot. Algeria and Romania still have chances though should they all end up level on points.
Christer Ahl writes: “The big surprise was that Romania found no way of dealing with Algeria’s defense, with half-court pressure; perhaps they were also tired after trying to keep up with the Danish running game the previous evening… Algeria won with the amazing score of 15-14 and now have a better chance of moving on to the main round than their North African rivals Egypt and Tunisia,:
Sweden and Poland are on course to advance. 3rd place, however is up for grabs.
Christer Ahl writes: “ ARG continued to impress, but in part their win was caused by self-destruction on the part of Slovakia who had an early lead. It seems the Slovaks demonstrated against their coach during the half-time break, staying in clusters on the court instead of joining the coach for instructions in the locker room. It may now come down to a goal difference affair between Argentina and Korea for the final slot in the main round.”