Handball team gains berth in semifinals

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Handball team gains berth in semifinals

The national women’s junior handball team moved another step closer to securing its first World Championship title yesterday, earning a spot in the semifinals by edging Germany in a hard-fought match in Seoul.

The team’s 24-22 victory in the second match of the main round extends Korea’s win streak to seven and followed a dominating 38-30 triumph in the first match of the main round over Serbia on Saturday.

With the win against Germany, Korea secured a place in the semifinals at the Women’s Junior World Championship regardless of the results of the team’s final main round match against Norway.

Battling a physically strong German squad, Korea’s top player Ryu Eun-hee - who competed in the Women Handball Championship 2009 in China - was limited to a defensive role. With Ryu essentially a non-factor in Korea’s offense at the outset of the game, Lee Eun-bi rose to the occasion, scoring eight goals in the first half alone and following it up with four more in the second half. Lee ended up receiving the honor of Most Valuable Player of the match.

With both sides playing conservatively on offense, the seesaw battle had Korea trailing the Germans 12-11 at the end of the first half.

However, Korea’s offense came to life in the second half with its players clicking well up the wings. Ryu also regained her scoring touch in the second half, getting two goals.

The Germans responded well by taking advantage of the openings in the right side of Korea’s defense, connecting on several long-range shots. But they came up short in the end.

The match against Norway is scheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow. Norway also won its seventh game in a row yesterday by defeating Croatia, giving it a guaranteed spot in the semifinals as well.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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