Wednesday January 13th 2021
Bubble is “a big joke”
Egypt wins the start of the Corona Chaos World Cup
Host Egypt clearly wins against Chile at the start of the Handball World Cup. But the headlines at the extremely controversial tournament were the critical voices of the participants: people went in and out of team hotels without masks, Norway’s superstar Sagosen feels reminded of the “Wild West”.
Host Egypt started the controversial handball world championship with a clear victory. The African champions won the opening game in Cairo against outsiders Chile 35:29 (18:11), led by German referees Robert Schulze and Tobias Tönnies.
In Group G, Sweden and North Macedonia, which moved up for the Czech Republic, play alongside the eighth of the World Cup and the South Americans. The Czechs had 17 corona cases among the team and their supervisors. Germany will meet Uruguay in Group A on Friday (6:00 p.m.), followed by the games against Cape Verde on Sunday (6:00 p.m.) and Hungary on Tuesday (8:30 p.m.).
In the past few days, criticism of the “bubble” in Egypt had come from various quarters. The German team had warned that the hygiene measures should be “optimized” and that there was potential for improvement in the team hotel in Giza. Patrick Wiencek, Hendrik Pekeler, Finn Lemke and Steffen Weinhold had previously canceled their participation due to the corona pandemic.
Promises are not kept
The Norwegian superstar Sander Sagosen from the German record champions THW Kiel became even clearer. “Everything so far was a big joke.” In the first few hours in Giza he was reminded of the “Wild West” said Sagosen. His team is in a “state of shock”. In the Norwegians’ hotel, which also houses the German team, people would go in and out without a face mask, and the teams would eat together. All promises made in advance would not be kept.
In addition to the Czech Republic, the USA team had also withdrawn from the World Cup, which will be held for the first time with 32 teams, due to numerous corona cases. Switzerland moved up for this. In addition, the German preliminary round opponents Cape Verde and Brazil are said to be affected by an outbreak.
It was only on Sunday that the organizers announced that the tournament would be held without spectators. Originally, a hall capacity of 20 percent was planned. In contrast, 14 captains of the top European nations, including the German captain Uwe Gensheimer, protested in a joint letter.