London Olympics Handball Men Medal Round
France survived Sweden 22:21 to win back to back Olympic gold.
Following a poor showing at the 2012 European Championships where they finished 11th, France rebounded nicely in London and defended their Beijing gold medal in style. Sweden, no stranger to Olympic success, earned its 4th silver medal in 20 years.
The game featured two solid defenses. Sweden started the 2nd half on a sour note, making lots of mistakes on offense where they missed inexcusably from clear goal scoring situations.
Omeyer, France’s veteran goalie was a royal pain in the Swedes neck. Luc Abalo scored a crucial late goal to push France’s lead to 2, with the time running out and playing a man down. Sweden gave France a great game but ran out of time.
Hungary and Croatia met in the bronze match earlier in the day. The match was marked by the tension and the wear of this 14 day long tournament. Croatia eventually cruised to an easy 33:26 victory and a 3rd place finish.
Hungary was an easy prey to Croatia, due to a failed tactical strategy. Using Nagy as a passer rather than a scorer was a bad tactical decision made by Hungary’s coach Mocsjai. Nagy, visibly frustrated with his “new role”, resorted to silly but dangerous fouls. Hungary’s roster had a lot of deficiencies so, the 4th place finish may be the Hungary’s best at the moment.
On the other side, Croatia took advantage of their world class roster and individual superiority. One had to wonder what went wrong against France in Friday’s semifinal. Credit goes to Goluza (Croatian coach) who’s relied on his vast experience as a top world player to make quick atactical and technical adjustments on the fly – forcing the opposition to respond on and off the field.
Still, Hungary – like Montenegro in the women’s bracket – provided handball fans worldwide with an underdog to root for. The tournament would have been the same without them.
Final Men's medal round standings: