The German handball players didn't seem really satisfied when they high-fived each other after their effortless World Cup victory against Iran.
Despite a mixed defensive performance, the DHB selection also won their second preliminary round game against the blatant outsiders Iran 45:22 (25:12) and booked their ticket for the main round early. The best German thrower in Herning, Denmark was Johanna Stockschläder with eight hits.
“We won clearly, no one was injured and everyone was under strain,” said national coach Markus Gaugisch, summing up the sweeping victory. All players were used. Co-captain Alina Grijseels spoke of an “absolutely mandatory victory” that was well deserved, even at such a high level.
Germany narrowly won the opening game on Thursday against Japan. The final preliminary round game on Monday against Poland will probably be about winning the important group. The teams take their points from the preliminary round into the main round. There, Germany is likely to face title candidates Denmark as well as Serbia and Romania in a group of six. The best two teams qualify for the quarterfinals.
Iran not a real touchstone
For the first time in its international history, the DHB team had to play against Iran. The Asians are only taking part in a World Cup for the second time. Your only goal is not to come last. Their main problem is the lack of international experience. Only one player, goalkeeper Fatemeh Khalili, plays abroad.
And so it was already clear before the duel that handball dwarf Iran would not be a real test for the DHB team. Regardless of whether it was one-on-one, attempts from the backcourt or in terms of speed: the Asians were inferior in all respects.
And yet the German team found it harder than expected in the first few minutes in front of 1,800 spectators. In attack, the DHB women sometimes failed because of the Iranian keeper, and in defense, as against Japan, the arrangement did not work optimally. The outsider repeatedly scored goals from the circle in the early stages - in the second half the German defense was more compact.
“We weren’t happy with the defense in the first half because we let them play too much,” complained Grijseels. Coach Gaugisch agreed with his leading player: “We would have liked a few defensive solutions to be a little easier.”
Class difference clearly noticeable
The fact that victory was never in danger was also due to gifts from the Iranian women. The fourth-place finisher at the Asian Championships relied on seven outfield players when they had the ball, which left their own goal empty. At the same time, the underdog lost a lot of the ball and the DHB players were able to score easily from their own half. "That's simply unorthodox. But we then confidently sank the counterattacks," said Gaugisch.
The class difference became more and more noticeable as the game went on. Iran was completely overwhelmed by the speed of the Germans. As the game progressed, the game in front of almost empty stands became more like a training session than a World Cup game.