Spain have defeated Germany 28-24 in the quarterfinals of the Handball World Championship. It was revenge for Spain, who exited at the hands of eventual winners Germany at the same stage of the 2007 World Championship.
Hopes of a second World Championship title for Germany were dashed on Wednesday in their quarterfinal matchup against Spain, in front of nearly 11,000 fans at the Pabellon Principe Felipe in Zaragoza. After a strong start to the match, Spain pulled away in the final minutes to send the Germans home.
It was a competitive match from the start, with the two sides forcing one another to fight for every goal. After an entertaining opening period of play, coach Martin Heuberger's men managed to battle their way to a 14-12 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, the momentum quickly swung to Spain, and by the 34th minute they were trailing 17-15. Germany fought to keep the score close after losing their lead, but a three-goal Spanish run put the hosts up 25-21 in the 55th minute.
After pulling away in the final moments, the friendly home crowd gave their team a standing ovation as the final seconds ticked away.
"We missed a few chances and were too often outnumbered in the second half," said Heuberger, who despite the loss was pleased with how Germany played during the tournament.
"The team fought hard," he said. "We can be proud of our performance at the World Championship."
"We shouldn't forget what we have done," said captain Oliver Roggisch. "We challenged [Spain] for a long time, so we are going to celebrate a little."
Sven-Soren Christophersen led all German scorers with six goals.
In semifinals on Friday, Spain play Slovenia, who eliminated Russia earlier.
dr/jr (dpa, SID)