Recap: W handball round 5 - WSMV Channel 4

Recap: Women's handball round five

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The quarterfinalists are officially set after five rounds of play in women's handball. The quarterfinals begin on Tuesday. Here are the final group standings. 


Group A: 


1. Brazil: 8 points (+21 goal differential)


2. Norway: 8 points (+19)


3. Spain: 6 points (+9)


4. Angola: 4 points (-12) -- move on tiebreaker (def. Romania 23-19)


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5. Romania: 4 points (-11)


6. Montenegro: 9 points (-27)


Group B:


1. Russia: 10 points (+18)


2. France: 8 points (+25)


3. Sweden: 5 points (+9)


4. Netherlands: 4 points (0)


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5. South Korea: 3 points (-7)


6. Argentina: 0 points (-45)


Group B: South Korea (1-1-3) def. Argentina (0-5) 27-22


10:15 p.m.


South Korea looked much sharper in the latter end of the tournament, but still a disappointing tournament for them. 


They handily defeated debutants Argentina, led by Gwon Han-na who scored 11 goals. 


Group A: Spain (3-2) secure final spot, def. Angola (2-3) 26-22


8:20 p.m.


The final round of women's group play pitted Spain against Angola. Angola secured quarterfinal status earlier today, leaving one spot open that was Spain's to lose. And Spain made sure that they wouldn't let go of it. 





The first match saw little separation between these two squads. Alexandrina Cabral continued her good play, scoring five of Spains 13 goals at the half. 


Isabel Evelize Guialo finished the game with seven goals for Angola. 


Spain opened the lead early in the second half that Angola just couldn't seem to catch, and a costly turnover by Angola gave Spain the chance to open the lead to three goals with just three minutes remaining. 


So now the four teams from Group A are (in order): Brazil (owns the tiebreak over Norway), Norway, Spain and Angola. 



7:00 p.m. - Group A standings clarification and correction: Following their loss to Norway, Romania are not yet eliminated. Because Romania defeated Spain 24-21 earlier in the tournament, they own the tiebreaker. Angola, though, are through to the quarterfinals regardless because of their 23-19 victory over Romania in the first round of play. 



Group A: Romania (2-3) eliminated after 27-28 loss to Norway (4-1)


5:10 p.m. 


Cristina Neagu left the court in tears after her team's heartbreaking loss to Norway, which sees them eliminated from contention. 


The knockout phase for Romania essentially started when they were 0-2. Now, having fought back to 2-2, they challenge two-time defending gold medalists Norway. 


One attribute that's plagued Romania early in the tournament is flatness, yet this team came out strong in the first half, matching Norway shot-for-shot and not getting stifled by that dfense. 



They still needed to find a way to contain Nora Mork, though, who's been outstanding this whole tournament. And they struggled with that as Mork continually wove her way through the Romanian defense in the first half. 


Cristina Neagu got into trouble early, receiving a yellow card after shoving Stine Bredal Ostedal on a breakthrough chance. 



Romania were given a golden opportunity to assert their position in the game after Norway were penalized for an illegal subsitution during transition, thus giving Romania a brief double power play. The extra player advantage and threat on the wing drew the two Norway backs out of position, making way for Eliza Buceschi to give Romania an early 10-9 lead, which they'd quickly see disappear after two costly turnovers gave Norway two open net goals. 



Still, Romania hung in there, displaying a resiliency that this team once lacked. Even though Norway's offense ran through Nora Mork (who scored six goals in the first half), Romania's ran through an equally capable Neagu, who scored five. 


Norway quite had enough, though, and the power of their versatility was on full display early in the second half. Heidi Loke, Mork, Ostedal, Veronica Kristiansen and Camilla Herem all ran the Romanian defense ragged, easily catching them out of position. 


But even then Romania remained composed, gritty, desparate just to get one point. Neagu led the effort, bringing her squad to within two goals in the 18th minute of second half play. They had one more chance to get back to near level terms with a Norwegian suspension, but Norway held the three goal advantage late into the second half, just far enough out of reach for Romania. 


Group B standings update: With Russia's victory over the Netherlands, Russia maintain the top spot. Rounding out the top four [in order] are: Russia, France, Sweden, Netherlands. Argentina and South Korea, who are both eliminated, play the final game tonight. 


Group B: Russia (5-0) def. Netherlands (1-2-2) in 38-34 shootout


3:05 p.m. 



With two sides that are prone to streaky play there were bound to be some serious momentum shifts. These two teams love fast-paced handball. The Netherlands created four fast break opportunities in the first half while Russia created a staggering eight chances.


These two teams were very aggressive on defense, but it gave space for each team to easily brush through the defense. The two sides accoutned for 61 shots in the first half and 33 goals (Russia led 17-16). 


The scoring frenzy continued well into the second half as each side quickly worked their way through transition. The Russians just shot a little bit better, though, and held on long enough to come out victorious.


Ekaterina Ilina led her team in scoring with eight goals. Daria Dmitrieva scores six. Estavana Polman, meanwhile, scored 12 goals for the Netherlands. 


Group B: France (4-1) see of Sweden (3-2) 27-25


12:00 p.m.


Though these two countries already booked spots in the quarterfinals, the final standings in Group B were still up for grabs - most notably those precious two places at the top. With the winner clinching one of those coveted spots, the other would have to challenge Norway or Brazil in the quarterfinals. 



Sweden's big test was how the team would hold up against the best defense in the competition. They held up pretty well in the first half, quickly moving the ball around the arc and picked off the spots that the French left open. That doesn't mean they were entirely successful, though, either. Sweden did have issues at times working the ball at the top, as the two French backs made sure to never be more than an arms length apart from each other. This tight defense did force four fast breaks, all of which France capitalized on. 


Nathalie Hagman had a particularly frustrating half trying to put up big numbers. She rarely found herself open enough to take a clean shot on goal. 


Alexandra Lacrabere, meanwhile, shot six-for-six in the opening half. 



Sweden were slow to get things going in the second half as France did a fine job on slowing down Hagman and opened up a five goal lead. France never looked back, forcing turnovers 12 times. 


Hagman failed to score in the second half. 


With the victory, France will now play either the third or fourth placed team from Group A (depending if Russia win or lose against the Netherlands). Sweden, meanwhile, will face the uneasy task of challenging either Norway or Brazil in the quarterfinals.


Group A: Brazil (4-1) blast Montenegro (0-5) 29-23


9:55 a.m.


Brazil put on quite a display in their final match before the quarterfinals. They began the match in their typical hot-start fashion, storming to a 5-1 lead in the opening minutes. With their affinity for up-tempo handball, Brazil produced three fast breaks in the first half to dictate the momentum of the match.



Montenegro did well to hold on and weathered the opening storm. They took advantage of the thinned defense on the win, finding six opportunities from that mark in the first half. They had trouble getting the ball past Barbara Arenhart, though, who's been having an incredible tournament in goal. The Brazilian keeper saved 44% of shots faced during the game (18 of 41). 



Brazil started the second half just as strongly as they began the first, and this time they didn't give Montenegro a chance to get back in it. Aggresive defense by the Brazilians provided the fast breaks to quickly and soundly put this one away and give Brazil a chance to finish atop Group A. 


Ana Paula Belo led her side in scoring with six goals. Fernanda Franca da Silva and Alexandra do Nascimento finished with four and five goals, respectively. 


Brazil now currently sit atop Group A with 8 points (+21 goal differential), though Norway could reclaim the top position later today against Romania. 



As for Montenegro, it's going to be an Olympics to forget. The 2012 silver medalists came with high hopes of competing in the latter stages once more, but they just couldn't replicate the form that saw the country break through four years ago. 


 


 



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