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London 2012 Olympics: Tunisia 34 Great Britain 17 – hosts out of handball

Tunisia 34 Great Britain 17: Hosts mauled as handball team bows out

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 4 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Great Britain's men endured another torrid outing in the Copper Box as Tunisia handed out a beating in their Group A clash that sent the host nation crashing out.

Although Dragan Djukic's side have played their part in thrusting handball upon an unsuspecting British public, this loss follows hot on the heels of thrashings at the hands of reigning Olympic champions France, three-time silver medallists Sweden and Pan-American champions Argentina.

Given their infancy as a handballing nation, it is no surprise that Team GB have had such a hard time of it against teams who were winning medals long before they were even formed.

Down and out: GB handball team are out of the Olympics

Down and out: GB handball team are out of the Olympics

And the gulf in class was clear to seen this morning, though the way GB fought until the end deserves some credit and a flourish in the final throes of the first half gives optimism for the future.

Five goals from Sebastian Edgar and the continued form of goalkeeper Jesper Parker were other bright spots for the hosts.

After publicly targeting a win against Argentina in their last outing, Djukic was keen to rein his side's expectations back in before the match and the reason was evident from early on as Tunisia took a 4-1 lead after eight minutes.

That need not have been the case, though, as Chris McDermott, who received two two-minute suspensions in the first six minutes, opened the scoring and a host of early Team GB efforts were missed when they should have been scored.

Indeed, they only converted two of their first nine efforts on goal and that allowed Tunisia to take advantage with three back-to-back strikes, earning a 7-2 lead just before the midway point of the first half.

John Pearce ended that run with a nice finish from the wing, but three more goals from the Africans sent them 10-3 up and even at that early stage, that cushion was always going to be unassailable.

Thanks for the memories: The players acknowledge the fans at the Copperbox

Thanks for the memories: The players acknowledge the fans at the Copperbox

While a long morning was looking on the cards, goals from Sebastian Prieto and Gawain Vincent gave the home crowd something to cheer about and formed part of a four-minute spell that saw Team GB score four out of the next five goals, to bring their deficit down to 14-8 at the break.

However, that energy could not be renewed after the interval, and after Prieto missed a penalty, Tunisia scored five of the next seven goals to snuff out any hopes of a comeback.

In fact, a golden spell for the Africans put an unpleasant look on the scoreboard as a host of fast breaks and five unanswered goals gave them a 13-goal cushion, undoing all the good work from Team GB at the end of the first period.

One thing that cannot be levelled at Djukic's side is a lack of desire or fight, though, and despite Tunisia continuing to enjoy free reign in attack, Steven Larsson threw in a seven-metre effort which received a cheer as loud as the first from the unwavering home support.

Other goals from Edgar and Martin Hare went in as Team GB battled bravely, but they just could not compete with a strong Tunisia, who put themselves in with the chance of a quarter-final spot, thanks largely to 10 goals from Aymen Toumi.

Team GB complete their Group A campaign against reigning silver medallists Iceland on Monday, while they can take pride in the way they have helped spread the handball word over the last week.

London 2012 Olympics: Late rally fails to lift GB handball coach Djukic

Late rally fails to lift GB coach Djukic after third handball defeat

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UPDATED:

19:23 GMT, 2 August 2012

Great Britain men announced themselves on the Olympic stage with a rousing first-half performance in their 32-21 defeat to Argentina, but coach Dragan Djukic had mixed feelings.

While Team GB had not been competitive in their opening two defeats to reigning Olympic and world champions France and three-time silver medallists Sweden, they competed valiantly in the first 30 minutes against the South Americans at the Copper Box.

They also finished strongly, scoring seven of the final 10 goals.

Frustration: Britain's coach Dragan Djukic

Frustration: Britain's coach Dragan Djukic

But it was a killer 13-minute period in the second half that sent them to defeat where Argentina threw in a devastating nine unanswered goals.

Djukic had publicly stated that this game was the one that presented their best opportunity, so to lose by an 11-goal margin hurt the Serbian tactician, but not as much as GB's mistakes in front of goal, which cost them the game.

'We wanted to win this game but we made too many mistakes,' he said, referring to a shot conversion of just 45%.

'We missed too many easy chances and their goalkeeper was the key man in the deciding moments.

'We played well, created the chance and then we miss the clear opportunity and they punish us with the fast break.

Great Britain's Mark Hawkins celebrates after scoring a goal

delight: Great Britain's Mark Hawkins celebrates after scoring a goal

'But actually, if we watched all 60 minutes I am very satisfied with 40-45 minutes of it, it was probably our best performance.

'I am very happy at the end we came back, we played for every single ball until the end and that's the way we can survive and stand up and play the next game.

'We just have to be more patient and score the clear chances. That gives you strength, if you miss the chances it breaks you. We need more concentration.'

Goalkeeper Bobby White, who did his bit with three saves, failed to look beyond the fact his side had lost.

'I can't say that I'm happy because we lost,' he said.

High ball: Argentina's Guido Ricobelli passes the ball off while being defended by Daniel McMillan

High ball: Argentina's Guido Ricobelli passes the ball off while being defended by Daniel McMillan

'Argentina was our target but mistakes at the end of the first half and particularly the second half let us down and I am absolutely gutted.

'It was up there with our top performances but that's how we know we can play, so there is no shine to take off.

'Unfortunately we just made too many mistakes and we just haven't been able to iron those out.'

Argentina made history by winning for the first time at an Olympics and coach Eduardo Gallardo was happy to go down in the history books.

'We are extremely proud of our victory making a bit of history,' he said. 'I'm sure the people at home appreciate what we did.

'We respected Great Britain but we were clearly the better team on court.

'I am sure with time it will sink in but at the moment we are still digesting it.'

London Olympics 2012 Great Britain 19 Sweden 41: Another harsh lesson dished out to men"s handball team

Great Britain 19 Sweden 41: Another harsh lesson dished out to men's handball team

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UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 31 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Great Britain's men slipped to another heavy defeat in Group A of the preliminary stage as they were unable to cope with a clinical Sweden in the Copper Box.

Having only been formed in 2006, Team GB were given a brutal welcome to their first ever Olympic Games by reigning gold medallists France, who handed out a 44-15 demolition on Sunday in their first match.

And their Scandinavian opponents, who are three-time silver medallists, offered no mercy as they inflicted more misery on Team GB, who for all their progress over the last six years, were given a frank reminder of how far they still have to go before they are competing on the world stage.

Handballing lesson: Sweden's Mattias Gustafsson scores

Handballing lesson: Sweden's Mattias Gustafsson scores

But, despite the severity of the loss, Dragan Djukic's side can take positives from Sebastian Prieto and Chris Mohr's performance and four goals from Steven Larsson, giving them something to take into Thursday's game with Argentina, which has been long-touted as a potential match to win.

The gulf in class did not seem immediately obvious as the host nation held their own for the opening exchanges and were level at 2-2 after three minutes, with Mark Hawkins scoring his first goal at the Olympics.

But then Sweden imposed themselves on the game and in combination with missed chances and sloppy passing from Team GB, they rattled off six successive goals to earn an 8-2 advantage after eight minutes.

Rallying cry: Sebastian Prieto celebrates after scoring

Rallying cry: Sebastian Prieto celebrates after scoring

Sebastian Prieto finally broke that
spell with a fine move from a free throw, which gave the partisan home
crowd reason to cheer, but that could not be used as a catalyst for a
comeback as four consecutive goals gave the Scandinavians a 12-3 lead,
which even at the quarter-way point of the match was impregnable.

While Sweden kept a sizeable lead in tact thanks to a percentage conversion rate in the 90s and the ability to construct fast breaks, Team GB did seem to improve and incisive attacking moves saw both Chris McDermott and Prieto bag nice goals.

Part of the host nation's problem was that star man Larsson, who represented Sweden at youth level, had failed to get into the game, but he announced his arrival against the country where he grew up with a fine lob finish.

Curtailed: Kim Ekdahl du Rietz gets to grips with Britain's pivot Christopher McDermott

Curtailed: Kim Ekdahl du Rietz gets to grips with Britain's pivot Christopher McDermott

But that and goals from Mohr were just fleeting glimpses of promise for Team GB and Sweden finished the first half having scored an incredible 24 of their 26 efforts on goal, which would have been enough to blow better teams than Team GB away, and gave them a 14-goal half-time lead.

The opening few minutes of the second half offered no respite for a beleaguered host nation, with Staffan Olsson's side throwing in six unanswered goals and at last missing several other opportunities.

A fast break from Seb Edgar woke the
Copper Box up from their slumber, but the cheers were all too rare as
Sweden held a 21-goal lead at the halfway point of the second half.

In a battle: Sweden's Fredrik Petersen tussles with Britain's Sebastien Edgar

In a battle: Sweden's Fredrik Petersen tussles with Britain's Sebastien Edgar

But the home crowd were given reward for their support soon after when Jesper Parker made two fine saves and then their side scored back-to-back goals for the first time in the game.

Sweden saw it out with ease, though, to record a 22-goal win, with right-wing Niclas Ekberg having an afternoon to remember by netting 13 goals, the best match haul of the tournament so far.

The defeat leaves GB rooted to the bottom of Group A with no points and an ugly goal difference, while Sweden sit top, with two wins from two.

London Olympics 2012: Team GB"s men"s handball team lose to Hungary

Team GB men's handball team suffer pre-Olympic humbling as Hungary run riot

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UPDATED:

22:51 GMT, 24 July 2012

Great Britain men's handball team slipped to a heavy 44-21 defeat against Hungary in their Olympics warm-up match at the Copper Box.

Team GB, who get their maiden Olympics competition underway against reigning gold medallists France in Group A on Sunday, were unable to cope with their European opponents and were behind in the game from the off, trailing 18-10 at half-time.

Harsh lesson: Great Britain's Christopher Mohr (left) and Hungary's Tamas Mocsai tussle

Harsh lesson: Great Britain's Christopher Mohr (left) and Hungary's Tamas Mocsai tussle

It did not get any better in the second half as Dragan Djukic's side were made to pay for a string of missed chances throughout as the Hungarians, who finished fourth in Athens in 2004, ran riot.

Gergo Ivancsik was their chief destroyer with eight goals while GB's all-time top scorer Steven Larsson bagged seven goals.

Team GB complete their build-up to the Games with another warm-up game against Serbia on Thursday, with the women's team playing Spain on Wednesday.

London 2012 Olympics: GB handball team start with gold medallists France

Gold medallists France first up for Team GB's handball squad at the Games

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UPDATED:

14:30 GMT, 15 June 2012

Great Britain's men's handball side will begin their Olympic Games campaign in the toughest possible manner by facing reigning gold medallists France at the Copper Box on July 29.

GB coach Dragan Djukic had the luxury of picking which group his side went into as host nation and opted for Pool A, which contained champions France and silver medallists Iceland, in the hope of faring well against the non-European sides of Argentina and Tunisia.

They face Sweden in their second outing on July 31, followed by the crunch games with their South American and African opponents on August 2 and 4 respectively.

Big challenge: Bobby White and the rest of Team GB will face France and Sweden in their first two games

Big challenge: Bobby White and the rest of Team GB will face France and Sweden in their first two games

Their preliminary stage campaign comes to an end with a clash against Iceland on August 6.

The women play their first game on the opening day of the competition on July 28 in Pool A, when they are paired up with Montenegro, who they recently lost to in a Euro 2012 qualifying game.

Russia (July 30) and Brazil (August 1) are their next opponents before their must-win clash with Angola on August 3 while their preliminary stage closes with a tussle with Croatia on August 5.

Both sides have set pre-tournament targets of advancing past the group stages and into the last eight, but Djukic admits to do so is a 'dream'.

'Our wish is to compete and make one of the biggest ever surprises in handball,” Djukic said.

'I hope the boys believe we can play against them. We have to play against France who are Olympic and world champions and that is going to be hard.

Defending champions: France won the gold medal in Beijing

Defending champions: France won the gold medal in Beijing

'But if we get through that experience I think we have a chance. For me, the quarter-finals is a dream.'

The women have arguably a better chance of achieving their goal and coach Jesper Holmris has made no bones about which of their games is the most important.

HANDBALL FIXTURES

Click here for the full men's handball schedule

'We picked Group A because of Angola,' he said. 'We have played against them three times and beat them in November so that gives us confidence and belief we can beat them again.

'All the other nations are really strong and we are really looking to see if we can beat Angola and then make a big shock against one of the other teams.

'We have to play to our potential and then even a little bit better. But you never know what can happen in sport.'

The competition moves to the Basketball Arena from the quarter-final stage, with the women's medal matches being decided on August 11 and the men on August 12.