Unified team finishes 3rd from last

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Unified team finishes 3rd from last


The unified Korean handball team salutes the crowd after a 31-29 loss to Serbia at the International Handball Federation (IHF) World Men’s Handball Championship at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin on Jan. 15. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

The unified Korean men’s handball team has finished third from the bottom in its world championship debut.

Korea fell to Saudi Arabia 27-26 in the 21st-place match at the International Handball Federation (IHF) World Men’s Handball Championship at Royal Arena in Copenhagen Sunday (local time).

The squad of 16 South Koreans and four North Koreans, coached by South Korean Cho Young-shin, ended up in 22nd place among 24 participants.

This was the first international appearance by a joint Korean handball team, men’s or women’s.

Korea lost all five preliminary matches to fall into the ranking round and captured its historic first win over Japan in the 21st-24th place semifinals Saturday.

Korea held a 14-13 lead over Saudi Arabia after the first half but lost on a last-second goal by Mojtaba Al-Salem.

Kang Jeon-gu led Korea with four goals, while five others chipped in three goals each.

South Korea came into the tournament ranked 19th in the world, while North Korea wasn’t ranked.

In the preliminary round, the unified team was in a stacked group, featuring world No. 1 Germany, No. 4 Russia, No. 5 France, No. 6 Serbia and No. 27 Brazil.

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