Tomorrow’s World Championship final is a refreshing change of pace from the more predictable outcomes in recent years. While it might not have been surprising for either the home side or the quality Brazilian club to find their way to the final it is truly a surprise for both teams to make it.
Both Serbia and Brazil had an easy time of it in the Semifinals on Friday. Serbia dispatched Poland 24-18 and Brazil easily handled Denmark 27-21. In fact, both teams true tests were in the quarterfinals where Serbia staged a furious comeback to defeat the defending Champions Norway, 28-25 and Brazil needed two overtimes to defeat Hungary 33-31.
For the second consecutive time Brazil will need to vanquish a foe they already defeated in Group Play. Brazil won their earlier meeting and who knew that Group B was so loaded it had 3 of the final 4. Player for player I think Brazil has the advantage in terms of quality, but the Serbs have an extra player in the boisterous 18,000 fans in the Krombank Arena. Key, in my opinion will be for the Brazilians to execute and finish their fast break opportunities. With their quickness advantage there’s a distinct possibility for them to go on one of their patented runs to build up a 3-4 goal lead. And at that point they may have a chance to take the crowd out of the match. If they don’t, and let the Serbs stick around, however anything can happen.
Another factor may be how well a couple of key players shake off their injuries. Both Brazil’s Ana Rodrigues and Serbia’s Andrea Lekic were injured in the semifinals, but both are expected to play. The oddsmakers have Brazil pegged as a half goal favorite.
One final side point, Brazil’s victory will mean that 5 Pan American sides will qualify for the 2015 World Championship, giving every handball fan from Tierra del Fuego to Baffin Island reason to cheer for Brazil.
The match throws off at 1715 CET / 1115 U.S. East Coast and can be viewed for $5.99 at Live Sport TV: link.
The Bronze medal match between Denmark and Poland is also available for viewing and starts at 1430 CET / 0830 U.S. Eastern Time.