Final Day of Main Round Play:  The Math for the Semifinals, Olympic Qual Slots and 2nd Best Continent

Breaking News: NBC switches up schedule on final day of the Main Round.










NBC Makes a Smart Change to the Schedule

Today was shaping up to be a real bummer for American handball fans as NBC’s pre-planned schedule featured two Group I clashes: France vs Croatia and Spain vs Germany.  A few days ago that sounded pretty good, but in the intervening time Croatia suffered two defeats and Spain failed to pick up enough points to challenge for a semifinal.   This coupled with France and Germany having a clean slate (marred only by their head to head draw) meant the relatively rare occurrence of a final day of group play lacking any major drama.  Meaning that the scheduled TV clashes would be real yawners with France and Germany likely resting players ahead of the semifinals.  Fortunately, NBC has decided to switch up the schedule and show matches in Group II where there is more doubt as to who will advance.

Group II’s Math

NBC will now show Norway vs Hungary (Noon ET) and Sweden vs Denmark (2:30 PM) where 3 sides (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) all have chances to go through to the semifinals.  There are a number of different scenarios, but I’ll address the most likely ones in chronological order.  Norway will be playing Hungary first and will be favored to win.  If they win they are in pretty good shape to advance regardless of the outcome of the Sweden-Denmark match.  If they lose, however, they will need Sweden to also lose in order to advance.

Assuming Norway beats Hungary the math gets a little complicated when figuring out the different possibilities of a 3 way tie.  The simple math is that Sweden needs to win by 3 goals (and possibly 2) to bump Norway out of the 2nd slot.

From Denmark’s perspective they can lose by 3 goals and still keep the top slot.  Lose by 4 goals and they still advance as the 2nd seed.  But, lose by 6 (and possibly 5) they are out of the semifinals.  (All the math is at the bottom of this article).

So while Denmark is surely favored to continue their winning ways, Sweden has all to play for in the final match of the night.

Olympic Qualification Tournament Slots

While Group I semifinalists have been determined there are still Olympic Qualification Tournament slots at stake.  (Finishing 3rd or 4th should result in a qualification slot).  Brazil takes on Iceland in the first match of the day and a win there would give them 4 points and put them in a temporary tie with Spain and Croatia for 3rd place in the group.  Croatia then plays France and Spain takes on Germany.  Depending on how those matches play out there are a number of possibilities.  The simple math is that Spain is assured of finishing 3rd or 4th, Croatia can finish 3rd to 5th and Brazil can 4th or 5th.

In Group II, the non semifinalist amongst the group of 3 (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) is assured of finishing 3rd.  Hungary will likely finish 4th even if they lose Norway.  Egypt could catch them for 4th, but they would need to beat Tunisia and catch up on a 12 goal differential deficit.

2nd Best Continent

Thanks to Brazil’s upset victory over Croatia, Pan America currently has the advantage here.  If Brazil beats Iceland they will have 4 points in Group I which neither Tunisia nor Egypt will be able to match in Group II.  If, however, Brazil loses to Iceland an Egypt victory over Tunisia will see Egypt with 3 points to Brazil’s 2 points, giving Africa the slot.  Finally, Should Brazil lose and Egypt lose as well, that would result in Brazil being level with Tunisia, with 2 points each in Group play.  Should that happen, though, the next tie breaker is Preliminary round GD and Brazil has the edge there.

Detailed Math for the Denmark-Sweden match in the event there is 3 way tie for points between Denmark, Norway and Sweden

  • Denmark wins or draws: 1) Denmark, 2) Norway
  • Sweden wins by 1 goal: 1) Denmark, 2) Norway
  • Sweden wins by 2 goals and
    • Sweden scores 28 or fewer goals: 1) Denmark, 2) Norway
    • Sweden scores exactly 29 goals: 1) Denmark, 2) Norway or Sweden based on all matches
    • Sweden scores 30 or more goals: 1) Denmark, 2) Sweden
  • Sweden wins by 3 goals: 1) Denmark, 2) Sweden
  • Sweden wins by 4 goals: 1) Sweden, 2) Denmark
  • Sweden wins by exactly 5 goals and
    • Denmark scores 27 or more goals: 1) Sweden, 2) Denmark
    • Denmark scores exactly 26 goals: 1) Sweden, 2) Denmark or Sweden based on all matches
    • Denmark scores 25 or fewer goals: 1) Sweden, 2) Norway
  • Sweden wins by 6 goals or more: 1) Sweden, 2) Norway