France, Sweden open close group with wins
The two groups of the women’s handball competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have thrown off in completely contrasting styles on Sunday.
While the three European teams in group A – Netherlands, Montenegro, and Norway – all earned double-digit victories, the fight for quarter-final spots in group B is looking really tight.
The defending champions from Russia were held to a draw by Brazil, while France earned a narrow win over Hungary. Sweden impressed with a clear win over World Championship 2019 silver medallists Spain.
Netherlands vs Japan 32:21 (18:10)
- left back Lois Abbingh scored a stunning five times in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the match to help Netherlands build an early 6:1 lead
- Japan failed to recover, and the hosts were already down by nine after 18 minutes as a comeback was never on the cards
- Abbingh finished on seven for the match, while all Dutch players – except for the two goalkeepers – made it onto the score sheet
Montenegro vs Angola 33:22 (13:12)
- no team led by more than one goal in the opening 10 minutes, and Montenegro were still only one up after scoring just once in the last eight minutes before the break
- a 6:0 run to start the second half decided the match in favour of Montenegro
- Jovanka Radicevic scored a tournament leading 12 goals
Norway vs South Korea 39:27 (18:10)
- Norway had a slow start and were two behind when they finally scored after more than four minutes, but quickly gained full control with a 9:1 run
- the EHF EURO champions gradually increased their lead throughout the second half
- Kari Brattset Dale netted 11 times, while goalkeeper Silje Solberg had 18 saves for a 43% save rate
Russian Olympic Committee vs Brazil 24:24 (14:12)
- the team from Russia got their title defence off by leading Brazil by up to three goals several times before the break
- the defending champions still led by three when Anna Vyakhireva netted for 18:15 in the 38th minute, before Brazil answered with a 7:2 run
- from 24:24 with more than three minutes left, both teams had several chances for a winner but failed to score again
Spain vs Sweden 24:31 (9:13)
- Spain scored four times in the first six minutes but only netted five more times in the remaining 24 minutes of the first half
- Sweden went from 6:6 to 11:6 halfway through the first half
- the Scandinavian side remained in the lead, by eight points maximum, for the rest of the match
Hungary vs France 29:30 (12:15)
- Hungary failed to score for the opening six minutes but then quickly scored four in a row to level at 4:4
- France were ahead for most of the first half but failed to create a big margin
- France, led by Grace Zaadi’s 10 goals, were four up (28:24) going into the last seven minutes but nearly had to settle for a draw in the end
Detailed results and playing schedules are available on the official Olympics homepage.
All Tokyo 2020 photos courtesy of IHF.