Source Pravda.Ru

World Handball Championship - 27 January, 2003

France 31 Russia 15. The result speaks for itself. The experience of 41-year-old Russian goalkeeper Lavrov was not enough to save the largely inexperienced Russian team from a massive defeat.

World Champions France beat the Olympic Champions easily. However, the motivation factor was nil, since both teams were already qualified for the second phase. France launched wave after wave of attacks, reaching 15-6 by half-time, which proves the inefficiency of the Russian attack and the defensive power of the defending champions.

The second phase has already been drawn. The teams were chosen on a 1-2, 3-4 basis. The first from group A, the second from group B, the third from A and the fourth from B and so on. This system means that all the teams going through to the second phase have already played a match with one member of their group, this result being carried through to the second phase. For example, Russia lost 26-28 to Croatia, which is in their second phase Group 3. The group starts with the result of that match standing. Croatia therefore has two points for the victory and 28 goals in favour to 26 against.

There are four groups of 4 teams each, all with two teams already having two points and two teams having nil. All teams will play two games.

Group 1 Iceland (2 points), Spain (2 points), Poland and Qatar (0 points). Spain plays Qatar, Iceland plays Poland on 29th January. Spain-Iceland, Poland-Qatar on 30th. Current standings: Iceland (42 goals for, 22 against) 2 points, Spain (34-25-2), Poland (25-34-0), Qatar (22-42-0).

Group 2 29th January: Germany-Tunisia, Yugoslavia-Portugal. 30th January: Germany-Yugoslavia, Portugal-Tunisia. Current standings: Germany (37-29-2), Yugoslavia (28-27-2), Tunisia (27-28-0), Portugal (29-37-0).

Group 3 29th January: Croatia-Egypt, Denmark-Russia. 30th January: Croatia-Denmark, Russia-Egypt. Current standings: Croatia (28-26-2), Denmark (35-26-2), Russia (26-28-0), Egypt (26-35-0).

Group 4 29th January: Sweden-Hungary, France-Slovenia. 30th January: Sweden-France, Slovenia-Hungary. Current standings: France (29-24-2), Slovenia (29-25-2), Sweden (25-29-0), Hungary (24-29-0).

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru

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