The women’s programme wrapped up group play on Sunday.
There wasn’t much to be decided, except for a slight jockeying for position, as the women move to the quarterfinals round.
As expected Team GB lost 37:14 to Croatia in their last match in front of the home fans at the Copper Box. Despite 5 consecutive loses, the fans' sendoff was out of this world. The GB women were cheered by thousands, including a very vocal Duchess Kate. What a sight to see that was. Congrats then, are in order to GB for a wonderful tournament. For the men and women of Team GB, this Olympic tournament was not about wins or loses. Instead it was about the proliferation of the sport of handball among the English speaking countries. And they were such gracious ambassadors! No doubt that US Team Handball benefited a great deal from Great Britain's success.
Elsewhere, South Korea finished off Sweden 32:28.
Brasil gave Angola no chance, defeating the Africans 29:26 to finish tops in Group A.
Russia and Montenegro fought to a 25:25 tie in a game that resembled a wrestling match more so than a handball game.
And France had no problem handling Denmark 30:24.
Denmark, like Sweden, was sent packing following an abysmal showing in the ultra competitive Group B.
Here are Sunday’s results:
The quarterfinal matches have been set:
Brasil’s reward for wining Group A? They get to take on Norway, who strategically placed 4th in Group B. The veteran nordic team should have no problem eliminating Brasil. Despite mediocre group play, Norway is still very much the favorite to win the gold medal.
Spain vs Croatia is hard to figure/pick. Both teams have shown flashes of greatness in group play. Spain, coming out of a tough Group B, could be more worn out so Croatia may have a slight advantage by virtue of fresher legs.
Russia and Korea will be a contest between speed and agility versus power and strength. Russia’s lack of creativeness may fool some, but their physical style always seems to pay dividends – especially in the elimination rounds. Korea has been the better team but a loss to Russia will not be a shocker.
Finally, France and Montenegro appears to be an easy match for Krumboltz’s girls. Montenegro (still USATH’s dark horse of this tournament) will need to rally around leftback superstar Bojana Popovic and play better as a team if they are to shock France. This one will be a physical affair.
On Monday, men take centre stage for one last time – in group play.
4th place in each group is still up for grabs.
In Group B, Hungary and Serbia lock horns early in the day. The winner will move on to the quarterfinals. A tie will favor Serbia, the silver medalist of the 2012 Euros.
Group A’s last playoff spot will be decided between Tunisia and Argentina. Tunisia does have the upper hand in this one. Victory is the only option for Argentina. Here are Monday’s matchups: