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Sports

German handballers open World Cup with win over Brazil

The German handball team has begun their World Cup campaign in Spain with a clear win over their Brazilian opposition. The team were particularly impressive during the second half of the game.

Germany's national team won 33-23 in a match that saw the squad grow in confidence as the match progressed.

"I had a queasy feeling in my stomach ahead of the game," coach Martin Heuburger said. "But I think it was a pretty tidy opening match."

The squad is without three key players - Uwe Gensheimer, Holger Glandorf and Lars Kaufmann - and has seven World Cup debutants. The side's stated goal is to reach the quarterfinals at least.

The game opened with plenty of excitement, with an impressive performance from Silvio Heinevetter, repaying Heuburger's faith in him as a selection. While the Germans' showed determination against a Brazilian team who battled for every ball, they at first seemed too nervous to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal.

A "timeout" after 20 minutes, with the Brazilians leading 9-7, saw Germany gain composure and turn the tables, leading 12-10 at the end of the first half. The Germans built up on their lead in the second part of the game and the Brazilians were unable to make any real comeback.

"I think we were a bit nervous to begin with," captain Oliver Roggisch said. "But the second half was really very good. We have to carry on this way."

Tunisia are Germany's next opponents, with the national team also set to take on Argentina and Montenegro in the preliminary round, as well as champions France.

rc/mkg (dpa, SID)

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