The set that could stand for this tournament fell in a break in the first half. "Courageous teams win games," called coach Christian Prokop to his team. It was 9: 9, Germany had led in this game for third place against France, but just ten minutes long hit the gate.
After the break, it ran again, the Germans moved away, until the break at 13: 9. They were determined to at least get this medal. And Frankeich was not stronger or better, but kept the game open - and won in the last second.
Nevertheless, this sentence by Christian Prokop provided a decisive insight into this World Cup. His team only finished fourth, but it has done so much better than a year ago. At that time, at the botched European Championship, was heard during the last time out of the tournament, "Just make it decent." Germany dropped out, was ninth, and less than a year before the home World Cup was not even clear whether the coach would still have enough support. Now everyone followed him.
The match for third place made it clear again: Germany has a defense that would be good enough for a title. Even when defender Patrick Wiencek was sent off for fielding a third time penalty, the defense was tight. For Wiencek had Hendrik Pekeler ran. He kept grimacing in pain. The tenth game in seventeen days. It was also good that now was over.
But Germany also had an attack that fails to be as smart as you have to be to become world champion. The attack too often lost the ball in the tournament, closed too hastily and was too immobile. Seven seconds before the end, it was 25:25, the chance for the German victory, but the last decisive pass was too imprecise, a wrong decision. It was not only not the own goal, but the French threw after a counterattack the winning goal, in the last second. That too: bitter, but typical of this tournament, where three games were given away in the last second.
Now the World Cup is over and the German handball looks at two, for him, wonderful weeks, even if the end with the fourth rank tastes stale. The halls were fuller than ever at a World Cup, in Germany Handball was the number one sport for a few weeks. Handball players were recognized and addressed on the street, nearly twelve million spectators watched the defeat against Norway.
The games showed what handball is all about: a big fight, almost two hours of drama per game, and athletes tugging, shoving and shoving, but at the end they walk as mellow as if they were just coming from the bar in the bar. This attitude to sport and success, a certain down-to-earth attitude and a mixture of pride and disbelief over the enthusiasm in the halls has made the handball players for a while the most popular Germans.
Whether fourth place is enough to make handball popular in the long run, and not just during such big tournaments, many are wondering. First clubs reported new registrations, the association said before the World Cup, that he was set to new members much better than even after the World Cup title hype in 2007.
The next major tournaments will all be broadcast by ARD and ZDF. In the coming year, there will be the next European Championships in Norway, Sweden and Austria, and the qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Olympics begin. There Germany is also there. Handball will stay. Maybe stay up there too.