Hungary complete remarkable turnaround to reach quarter-finalsArticle
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DAY REVIEW: The final day of the preliminary round delivered plenty of late drama

There was final day delight for France and Hungary but heartbreak for Spain on the final day of the preliminary round of the women’s tournament at Tokyo 2020.

With positions to play for throughout both groups, Monday’s contests were far from a foregone conclusion.


South Korea vs Angola 31:31 (16:17)

  • in a direct battle for the final quarter-final place in the group, South Korea held on to claim the draw they needed to progress
  • Angola were on the verge of qualifying having taken a 31:29 lead with four minutes remaining, led by Isabel Guialo and Albertina Kassoma
  • despite having a relatively quiet game in front of goal by her own standards, Eum Hee Ryu scored the decisive equaliser with 11 seconds remaining to set up a quarter-final clash against Sweden

Netherlands vs Montenegro 30:29 (17:12)

  • the clash for second place in the group went right down to the wire after a spirited Montenegrin comeback
  • the match appeared all but over with Netherlands leading 24:16 with 15 minutes remaining but four goals in five minutes from Jelena Despotovic gave Montenegro some hope
  • the Dutch held strong late on to claim their fourth win in five games to finish second, Montenegro in third

Norway vs Japan 37:25 (16:11)

  • victory for Japan would have seen them through to the quarter-finals but that never looked likely
  • the hosts stayed in touch in the opening quarter but Norway confidently built up a solid five-goal advantage by half-time
  • in a balanced attacking display, Esbjerg’s Marit Malm Frafjord led Norway’s scorers with six as her side finished the group with a perfect record


France vs Brazil 29:22 (17:11)

  • 2016 silver medallists France found themselves in a must-win match against Brazil to qualify for the quarter-finals and they did exactly that
  • The French put a frustrating week behind them and sparked to life with a 5:1 run midway through the first half
  • a brilliant performance between the posts by Brest’s Cleopatre Darleux, 9 saves at 45 per cent, made the difference as Brazil prolific attack were left frustrated

Spain vs ROC 31:34 (17:18)

  • Spain were the only European side to be eliminated from the preliminary round of the women’s competition, following a second consecutive loss
  • Anna Vyakhireva enjoyed her best game of the competition so far as the Russian Olympic Committee took charge of the contest midway through the second half
  • ROC have put a slow start to the tournament behind them to claim second place in the group and a quarter-final against Montenegro

Hungary vs Sweden 26:23 (15:15)

  • Sweden came into this contest safe in the knowledge they had secured top spot in the group, while Hungary needed to win to complete a remarkable transformation
  • after an evenly-fought first half, the Hungarians stepped up a gear or two in the second with Blanka Biro producing 13 saves and five players scoring four goals each
  • having lost their opening three matches, two wins at the end of the group sees Hungary squeeze past Spain into fourth place and an unlikely quarter-final berth

Quarter-finals – 4 August

Montenegro vs ROC (02:30 CEST)
Norway vs Hungary (06:15 CEST)
Sweden vs South Korea (10:00 CEST)
France vs Netherlands (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