After Iceland beat Germany in Reykjavík last week, Germany struck back with a vengeance, wiping the floor with the Icelandic national team in Halle, Germany, yesterday in the preliminary round for the European Championship in men’s handball. The final score was 39-28 for Germany.
Icelandic player Arnór Atlason, who was injured in the game. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
Iceland’s coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson described the game as a “scandal” to visir.is. “I’d like to apologize to the nation on behalf of the team. I am very disappointed; we played poorly from the first minute to the last.”
“I was concerned that people would bask in the glory of the first game and discussed that with […] the players because I knew what would await us here. We had to begin the game powerfully, which we didn’t. […] I didn’t feel they were focused enough,” the coach added.
Two key players were absent, goalie Björgvin Páll Gústavsson, who injured his eye before the game, and shooter Arnór Atlason, who was injured early in the game, visir.is reports.
Germany took the lead immediately. Iceland managed to narrow the gap to four goals two times in the first half but Germany didn’t let them move any closer to a draw; leading by seven goals at half time, 20-13.
The latter half was an embarrassment for Iceland. Only 11 minutes into the second half, Germany led by 11 goals, 27-16.
Iceland had poor defense and goalkeeping, so the Germans scored at will, and to make matters worse, German goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter deflected 21 shots, three of which were penalty throws.
Iceland will now have to win its last two games in the preliminary group, against Latvia in Latvia and Austria in Reykjavík, to have a shot at qualifying for the European Championship.
Their fate will also be decided by the outcome of the game between Germany and Austria in early June.
Click here to read about the game against Germany in Reykjavík.