Monday, August 06, 2012
Brazil top group, await Norway or Spain
By Tom Pilcher
LONDON (Reuters) - Brazil survived a late surge from Angola to finish top of women's Olympic handball Group A on Sunday while Croatia grabbed second spot with Russia third and debutants Montenegro fourth.
All four are in the quarter-finals where Brazil, seeking a first Olympic handball medal, will play holders Norway or Spain on Tuesday after notching up a total of eight points in their section with a 29-26 win over the Africans.
Norway and Spain clash in the day's fifth game at 1830 GMT while Group B pacesetters France, who have already clinched a place in the quarter-finals, take on three-times winners Denmark (2015) who have been eliminated.
The 2008 bronze medallists South Korea, who earlier beat pointless Sweden 32-28, are the other side through from Group B in second place and will brace themselves for a last eight game against Beijing silver medallists Russia.
Russia missed an opportunity to leapfrog Brazil earlier on Sunday when they drew 25-25 with tiny Montenegro, with coach Evgeny Trefilov a constant picture of anger on the touchlines.
But counterpart Dragan Adzic was understandably delighted with his team's unexpected qualification for the last eight.
"It's a great thing for a small country like Montenegro to play at the Olympics, especially to finish equal with a great sporting nation like Russia. We will do our best to win a medal, that's our aim now," he told Reuters through an interpreter.
"Phenomenal. We didn't expect such a handball atmosphere in Britain," he added referring to the crowd at the Copper Box.
Angola and winless hosts Britain, beaten 37-14 by Croatia who like Brazil finished on eight points and will face Norway or Spain in the last eight, failed to progress from Group A.
(Editing by xx)