Handball: Improvement for Team GB but another defeat in the Copper Box

Great Britain 21 Argentina 32

Great Britain men may have lost their third successive game at the Olympics
at the hands of Argentina this afternoon, but the manner of their
rousing first-half performance will only have enhanced the growing
popularity of handball in this country.

Although they were thoroughly outclassed in heavy losses against reigning Olympic and world champions France and three-time silver medallists Sweden in their opening two outings, their display against the South Americans in the opening half belied their six-year infancy as a team and gave tremendous hope for the future.

While it is worth pointing out that coach Dragan Djukic had publicly targeted this game as a realistic one to win and the second half took considerable shine off the result, the first-half showing in particular must have exceeded the Serbian tactician's expectations.

The defence put in a sterling show in the opening 30 minutes while Steven Larsson continued to live up to his billing of star man with six goals.

The crowd's support in the Copper Box has not waned over the first two Games, despite the ugly scorelines, and they were immediately rewarded when Chris McDermott threw in the opening goal of the game.

But sloppy play in attack allowed Argentina to gain some control at the other end and three successive goals handed them a 5-2 lead after nine minutes.

Gawain Vincent ended that run with a thunderous seven-metre shot and they could have been level but Larsson and Robin Garnham missed one-on-one chances.

This was the best spell of play that Team GB had been able to manage in the tournament and goals from Mark Hawkins and Larsson sent the partisan home crowd into raptures and then when Garnham threw in a rebound, they had reduced the deficit to just one goal at the midway point of the first period.

However, more handling errors and missed opportunities - the hosts were operating at just 40 per cent conversion rate, meant that the South Americans dominated and opened up a five-goal cushion by the 23rd minute.

But Team GB showed their bulldog spirit and hit back throwing three successive goals for the first time in the tournament to raise the roof off the Copper Box and bring the deficit back down to two.

Further squandered chances saw Argentina go into the break 16-11 to the good, but Djukic's side left the court to a rousing reception that their superb performance had warranted.

In their previous two matches the second halves had been an exercise of damage limitation for Team GB, but this time they were still in the match, though they needed to produce a golden spell to claw back the margin.

Unfortunately they were unable to do so and Argentina scored four of the first six goals after the break to stretch their lead to 20-13.

The home fans had a further goal from Hawkins to cheer, but Eduardo Gabriel Gallardo's side did well to take the sting out of the game and held an unassailable 12-goal lead at the halfway point of the second half thanks to six consecutive goals.

The second-half slump continued and it became nine in a row soon after as Argentina ran away with it to put a real dampener on GB's afternoon.

A seven-metre effort from Vincent and back-to-back goals from Ciaran Williams gave the crowd something to cheer in the final 10 minutes as the hosts stopped the rot, but it was all too late as the South Americans won it at a canter.

Three defeats leaves Team GB rooted to the bottom of Group A, while Argentina's win, which came with the aid of six goals for Sebastian Simonet, gets them off and running.


Suggested Topics
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts during a news conference in Zurich June 1, 2011
Life and Style
food + drink
peopleKatie Hopkins criticises River Island's 'seize the day' bags for trying to normalise epilepsy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith