Handball: Poland see off Tunisia in World Championship opener

Poland earned a hard-fought 30:28 victory over Tunisia in their opening game of the 2021 World Men's Handball Championship taking place in Egypt.

Before the match, Poland, who received the wild card for the tournament, was deemed a favourite, as they won their last five games. Nevertheless, their rivals from North Africa could have posed a major threat due to the environmental handicap.

The initial concerns were proven right in the first half, when the Tunisian players kept ripping the Polish defence apart with fast-paced buildup. Yet, the Poles managed to catch up with their opponents before halftime, owing much to their in-form wingers.

Both teams started the second half going punch for punch. The status quo was changed when the Poles built a four-goal advantage (26:22) and never gave it away. It was clear that Poland would emerge victorious when Przybylski put his team in a 30:27 lead in the 59th minute.

Despite several flaws, most notably the underperforming courtbacks and goalkeepers during the first half, Poland notched up a victory which may send them to the next stage of the tournament. Tunisia was helpless against the rivals’ wingers, especially Arkadiusz Moryto, who scored 11 goals in 11 attempts.

After one game, Poland leads group B, ahead of higher-ranked rivals: Spain and Brazil whose match ended in a draw. On Sunday, the Poles will take on the former side.

It was the first win for Poland in a championship-rank event since 2017, when the team then coached by Talant Dujshebaev defeated Argentina. As it stands, the team has no big handball stars and the current lineup tries to follow in the footsteps of the successful generation who won three World Championship medals in the years 2007-2015.