Israel defeated Greece to claim to spot
For forty minutes Greece was chasing down Israel to overturn a losing situation and win the decisive game which would led them on top of Group A. Their efforts though proved to be fruitless as Israel withstood the pressure to hold off Greece and win the game 28:27. Thus Israel finished atop, while Greece ranked second.
Lack of experience and loss of concentration were the reasons behind Greece’s numerous errors, nevertheless the hosting nation never gave up and pushed Israel to the limit.
Israel used from the beginning a 3-2-1 tight defence to block their opponents, a tactic which bear fruit. They denied Greece scoring for eight minutes and they quickly built a four-goal lead (6:2) at minute 10.
Nikos Georgiadis opted to use two soutpaws, Sarafis and Papazoglou, a move that freed Greece’s top scorer Biniaris, and of all the sudden the hosts square it off (9:9) ten minutes later.
With less than ten minutes still on the clock for the halftime break, neither team managed to take the upper hand and both failed to find the net. The deadlock was finally broken by Cohen, while goalie Gingold seemed unbeaten for Greece’s shooters giving their team a two-goal advantage at the break.
Greece tighten their defence in the second half but scored only once in the first 5.30 minutes. Cohen once again orchestrated Israel’s attack and helped his team defend a slender lead for most of the time. In the meantime, Greece missed three 7m shots and seemed to lost their composure while at fast break.
With two minutes still on the clock, Greece scored twice with Alexandridis and Biniaris cutting the difference to a mere one goal. Israel made another mistake with 15 seconds remaining, but the hosts missed with their final 9m shot and the chance to equalize.
GREECE – ISRAEL 27:28
Scoreline: 0:2, 2:5, 5:7, 8:9, 9:9, 10:12 (halftime) 11:12, 14:16, 17:18, 19:22, 22:25, 27:28
GREECE (Nikolaos Geordiadis): Petromelidis, Sina 1, Vasileiou-Tsafos 1, Janca, Biniaris 9, Tabakos, Pagiatis, Tzortzinis 4, Papazoglou 5, Sarafis 3, Dikaioulias, Alexandridis 4, Kotsionis 1, Anagnostopoulos, Skoufas, Anastasiou, Bampatzanidis, Stankidis.
ISRAEL (Nikola Maksimovic): Cohen 7, Zo Letova 1, Levi 6, R. Livgot 1, Shulman 1, Horvitz 1, Hadar, Gola, Maman 4, Luzon, Salvador Shalma 4, Dahan, Moradov 2, Buhnik, I. Livgot, Gingold, Sharon 1.
Referees: Μihajlovic – Hergegovac (Bosnia Herzegovina). 2 mins suspensions: 1-3. 7m: 1/4 – 2/3.
Nikolaos Geordiadis (Coach Greece): “In Israel they have developed a three-year plan aiming to strengthen their national youth team. I believe that we played well against them, fighting for victory or at least to salvage a point until the final moment.
“Our performance at the start of the game was not ideal, especially in offence. We tried to find the best possible rotation and gradually we improved our defence.
“Congratulations to my players for showing passion and determination. Nothing has been decided yet as far as this tournament is concerned, nor regarding our status as a team in general. We are still in a learning process, gathering experience.
“Regarding the final act of the game, it was the first time we were experiencing a situation like this. Next time we will score.”
Nikola Maksimovic (Coach Israel): “It was a great game, like we were expecting it to be.
“We started perfectly, denying Greece to score for eight minutes. Greece though fought back, forcing us to lose our balance. At some point it went down to the physical strength of each team rather than the technique.
“Now a tough semi-final lies ahead, although we won our group.
“I liked the way Greece played. I want to congratulate the coaching staff because they do whatever needed to develop this generation which has a few good players.
“I love Greece!”