The Icelandic national team in men’s handball lost by eight goals, 36-28, against Denmark at the World Championship in Handball in Spain yesterday. Captain Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson stated that they had been given “a lesson” in the early second half.
From a previous Iceland handball match. Photo: Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review.
“They ran up towards us while we had our backs turned and scored fiercely without us having time to switch in our defense players. They also scored from a long distance,” commented Guðjón to visir.is.
Denmark’s coach Ulrik Wibek’s strategy was to meet all goals by Icelanders with fast offensive play.
Aron Pálmarsson of Iceland scored the first goal of the game, which was the only time Iceland was in the lead. Then Denmark took the lead and maintained a difference of two to three goals throughout the first half, the score being 16-13 for Denmark at half time.
Iceland never stood a chance in the second half, in spite of good efforts by shooters like Kári Kristján Kristjánsson, who scored the most goals for Iceland with eight goals from nine shots, and Snorri Steinn Guðjónsson, who scored five goals.
However, Iceland’s defensive play was not effective enough. “We stood far away from them in the defense. We didn’t play help defense and they managed to tear us apart,” stated Iceland’s coach Aron Kristjánsson.
“What was positive, on the other hand, is that we played our best offense in the competition. We got players rolling, which is very good,” the coach added.
“It’s hard to face reality and say that the Danes were simply better [yesterday],” admitted Guðjón. “Denmark is the European Champion but I still feel that we can beat this team on a good day.”
“But for that to happen more players have to have a good day and that didn’t happen, unfortunately. We got spanked and can learn a lot from it,” the captain added.
“Now we just have to take the positive aspects of this game with us, nail Qatar and go crazy in the running for the cup,” Guðjón concluded.
Iceland must beat Qatar and count on Denmark beating Macedonia tomorrow to avoid ending up in fourth place in Qualifying Group B and thus be up against France, one of the world’s strongest teams, in the 16-team finals.
The Iceland-Qatar game begins at 6 pm CET (5 pm GMT) on Friday.
Click here to read more about Iceland’s performance at the World Championship in Handball.