Germany edged Denmark to seal their place in the main round ©IHF

Germany, Russia and Spain became the first nations to book their place in the main round of the International Handball Federation (IHF) Women's Handball World Championship, maintaining their perfect starts to the event in Japan.

A busy day of competition saw all 24 teams in action, as the third round of group matches was held across four venues.

Germany battled to a hard-fought victory over Denmark in Group B at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium, with seven goals from Julia Behnke helping them edge their rivals 26-25.

Results in the other Group B matches ensured Germany one of the three qualification spots to the main round of competition.

South Korea are best placed to earn the second, as a 33-27 triumph against Brazil saw them move second with two wins and a draw.

Defending champions France kick-started their stuttering campaign with a dominant 46-7 win over Australia.

France moved into the top three in the group standings, with their goal difference separating them from Denmark.

Spain also sealed their place in the main round, recording a third consecutive win in Group C by overcoming Senegal 29-20.

Montenegro narrowly beat Hungary 25-24 to maintain their winning record to move to the brink of qualification, which would be confirmed should they avoid defeat to Romania.

Romania currently lie third in the standings following a 22-20 victory over Kazakhstan.

Russia and Sweden preserved their 100 per cent starts in Group D.

The Russian team were comfortable 34-13 winners against the Democratic Republic of Congo to seal their progression to the knockout phase.

Sweden handed hosts Japan a first defeat of the tournament by winning 34-26, a result which moved the Europeans to the brink of qualification.

Sweden will progress should they avoid defeat against Argentina, who beat China 34-28 for their first win of the tournament.

A top-of-the-table clash in Group A saw Norway claim a 28-25 win over Serbia, with Stine Bredal Oftedal scoring seven goals.

The Netherlands moved level with Serbia on four points, after they beat Cuba 51-23.

Angola boosted their chances of reaching the main round by overcoming Slovenia 33-24.

The result leaves both nations on two points.

Competition continues tomorrow with the fourth round of group fixtures in Group B and C.