The Icelandic national team in men’s handball beat Egypt 28-25 tonight in the final round in qualifying group C at the World Cup in Qatar, securing their spot in the 16-team finals. Iceland ended up in third place in the group and Egypt placed fourth, also moving on to the next level.
Tonight, Egypt started out as the stronger team, leading by three goals after the first minutes. Determined not to blow their final shot at the 16-team finals, Iceland quickly got their act together with Alexander Petersson equalizing at 5-5, ruv.is.
Iceland kept scoring, achieving a four-goal lead. Then Egypt fought back, being only two goals behind Iceland when Iceland jumped back into gear, ending the first half with a five-goal lead at 15-10.
When the second half started, Iceland did not give in, maintaining a lead by five goals for ten minutes. Egypt was not about to give up, though, and on two occasions narrowed the gap to one goal, for the second time four minutes before the end of the game.
However, Iceland proved the stronger team in the final minutes, winning over Egypt by three goals; the final score was 28-25.
Captain Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson was Iceland’s best shooter, scoring 13 goals, many during fast breaks, while goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson deflected 14 shots, some of which were penalty throws.
In the next game on Monday, Iceland will either play against Poland or Denmark—coached by Icelander Guðmundur Guðmundsson under whose lead Iceland won the silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Along with Iceland and Egypt, Sweden and France are moving on to the 16-team finals from group C.