The hosts at the Qatar 2015 World Handball Championships delighted a 9.500 crowd at the Lusail Multipurpose Arena today with a 31-29 win over Slovenia to book a place in the knockout round of 16.
With four minutes remaining the sides were level at 28-28, but then goals from Zarko Markovic, Rafael Capote - who top-scored with 12 - and Mahmoud Hassab Alla put Qatar in control before a final flourish from Slovenia with 16 seconds remaining.
Defending champions Spain recorded the largest margin of victory yet seen at the Championships as they beat Chile 37-16 to also secure their place.
Coach Manuel Cadenas took the opportunity to rest several of his key men including Jorge Maqueda, Joan Canellas, Cristian Ugalde and 'keeper Jose Manuel Sierra.
The latter's replacement, Gonzalo Perez De Vargas, earned the Adidas man-of-the-match award after making 18 saves at a 53 per cent save rate.
Macedonia also sealed their qualification with a 25-22 win over Championship finals debutants Bosnia Herzegovina.
The Bosnians worked hard to stifle the creative work of their near neighbours, and were successful in limiting Kiril Lazarov, who had scored 19 goals in two matches, to four goals.
But Dejan Manaskov stepped up to the plate for Macedonia, earning the man-of-the-match award with a six-goal display.
Next up for Macedonia are Croatia, who also ensured progression thanks to a third consecutive win, by 41-22, against debutants Iran.
Brazilian wings Fabio Chiuffa, Felipe Ribeiro and Lucas Candido provided 17 of their team's 34 goals as they engineered a third consecutive defeat for Belarus, who scored 29.
In the final match of the day, Austria and Tunisia fought out a 25-25 draw in which the African side equalised inside the final two minutes and Austria's Robert Weber hit the post with less than a minute to go.
Austria, with three points from three games, now look likely to accompany Croatia and Macedonia into the knock-out phase - the top four in each of the four Groups will progress - but Tunisia, with matches coming up against the team above them, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and below them, Iran, have kept their chances alive.
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