Denmark start with big win, Sweden escape shock defeatArticle
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DAY REVIEW: The main medal favourites start with victories into the group phase of the men’s Olympic event

The men’s handball competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has started Saturday without major upsets – but only just.

Sweden, six months ago the silver medallists at the World Championship 2021, trailed Bahrain in group B for most of their match and only turned the tide in the closing minutes, with goalkeeper Andreas Palicka saving a last-second penalty to rescue the team’s narrow 32:31 win.

Also in group B, defending champions Denmark cruised to a huge 47:30 win over hosts Japan, while Spain had a late comeback to edge 2016 bronze medallists Germany 28:27 in group A.


Norway vs Brazil 27:24 (12:13)

  • Brazil had the better start and led 5:1 after nine minutes, and remained ahead for the rest of the first half
  • Sander Sagosen made it 15:14 in the 35th minute to give Norway their first lead in the match
  • Sagosen finished on eight goals, Haniel Langaro led for Brazil with five

France vs Argentina 33:27 (12:10)

  • Argentina needed almost eight minutes to finally find the back of the French net for the first time
  • On the other hand, France failed to score for the last seven minutes of the first half when Argentina clawed back from 12:6 to 12:10
  • Melvyn Richardson starred with a perfect seven from seven, Diego Simonet netted eight times for Argentina

Germany vs Spain 27:28 (13:12)

  • Germany led by up to three goals (9:6, 10:7) in the opening half
  • Spain dominated the first phase after the break, creating their first three-goal lead in the 39th minute, 19:16
  • neither team led by more than one in the last quarter (21:21), with Alex Dujshebaev scoring twice from 27:26 behind to hand Spain the victory


Sweden vs Bahrain 32:31 (16:18)

  • Sweden seemed cruising with a quick 8:3 lead within nine minutes, but they lost their way from leading 15:12 in the 23rd minute
  • a 6:0 run for Bahrain turned the match upside down even before the break
  • Bahrain were 31:29 up before failing to score again in the last six minutes, and they missed a penalty after the final buzzer to get at least a point

Portugal vs Egypt 31:37 (15:15)

  • Egypt enjoyed a strong start and led by three (5:2) early on
  • nothing separated the teams for the rest of the first half
  • the score was still level with 16 minutes to go (25:25) but Egypt dominated the high-scoring last phase of the game

Denmark vs Japan 47:30 (25:14)

  • Denmark overpowered the hosts in the opening minutes, building a 6:0 lead before Japan finally scored in the seventh minute
  • Denmark’s lead already reached a doubt-digit figure in less than 15 minutes of play when Henrik Møllgaard made it 14:4
  • Magnus Saugstrup and Jacob Holm both scored nine goals, while Hiroki Motoki netted eight times for Japan

Detailed results and playing schedules are available on the official Olympics homepage.

All Tokyo 2020 photos courtesy of IHF.

TEXT: European Handball Federation