Perfect records torn asunder as preliminary round closesArticle
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DAY REVIEW: Portugal's Olympic debut ends in defeat and Norway show signs of hope

The preliminary round of the men's handball tournament at Tokyo 2020 came to an end on Sunday with no shortage of drama.

Denmark and France's perfect winning records are no more after they fell to Sweden and Norway respectively, while Portugal's debut Olympics comes to a premature end after a loss to the hosts.


Spain vs Argentina 36:27 (17:12)

  • EHF EURO 2020 champions bounce back from first loss to France with a dominant victory
  • 12 Spanish men on the scoreboard as they post their highest score and biggest win of the campaign so far
  • Argentina struggled to break down the opposition defence as they fall to a fifth consecutive loss and exit the competition

Norway vs France 32:29 (15:15)

  • Norway produce their best game of Tokyo 2020 to date, ending France’s unbeaten run
  • it came at a cost, however, as Christian O’Sullivan dislocated his thumb, making him a doubt for the quarter-finals
  • despite the loss, France top group A and look serious contenders to reclaim the gold they last won in 2012

Germany vs Brazil 29:25 (16:12)

  • Germany continue their resurgence by beating Brazil in what was essentially a knockout match
  • Johannes Bitter produced another outstanding performance in goal, laying the foundation for his side’s victory, which eliminated Brazil from medal contention
  • Juri Knorr stepped up with six goals, offering himself as a viable option in Germany’s problem position at centre back


Portugal vs Japan 30:31 (14:16)

  • a final score which was no good to either side as both exited the competition
  • Portugal will look back at this game and tournament as a whole with frustration at missed opportunities as they let a 29:28 lead in the 58th minute slip
  • a victory on the final day is just reward for the host nation, who were involved in four fascinating group phase battles

Egypt vs Bahrain 30:20 (15:7)

  • Bahrain came into this game knowing they had done enough to qualify for the quarter-final and that was reflected in the final score
  • Egypt, on the other hand, had a job to do and they did not waste time in opening up a substantial lead in the first period
  • A balanced attacking performance, combined with rock-solid goalkeeping by Mohamed El-Tayar with a 43 per cent save rate, put the result beyond doubt

Denmark vs Sweden 30:33 (13:17)

  • the other perfect record in the competition was burst in the final game of the preliminary round, a repeat of January’s World Championship final
  • knowing they needed to win by six goals or more to win the group, Sweden set off at lightning speed, quickly opening that gap in the first half, powered by the back court goals of Lukas Sandell and Jonathan Carlsbogard
  • Denmark never looked like turning the game around to claim victory but closed the deficit by enough to hold onto first place in the group

Quarter-finals – Tuesday 3 August

France vs Bahrain (02:30 CEST)
Sweden vs Spain (06:15 CEST)
Denmark vs Norway (10:00 CEST)
Germany vs Egypt (13:45 CEST)

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

All Tokyo 2020 photos courtesy of IHF.


TEXT: European Handball Federation