The Icelandic national men’s team in handball beat Macedonia by four goals, 23-19, yesterday and thus it is highly likely that they will move on to the 16-team finals, which begins on January 20, at the ongoing Handball World Championship in Spain.
From a previous Iceland handball match. Photo: Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review.
Iceland earned its victory with a powerful defensive play and solid goalkeeping. Aron Pálmarsson of Iceland, who was named Best Player after the game, made sure to keep Macedonia’s main shooter and one of the world’s best players, Kiril Lazarov, at bay, visir.is reports.
“I was given the role of running out at Lazarov but Vignir Svavarsson and Sverre Jakobsson had a much more difficult role of holding off their linesmen. They played world class defense,” Aron commented.
Goalie Björgvin Páll Gústavsson deflected 18 shots and boasted a goalkeeping rate of 49 percent. “With such a defense the work for us goalkeepers is made much easier,” he declared.
Iceland started out as the stronger team, leading 4-0 after nine minutes. Then Macedonia kicked back, equalizing the score at 10-10 at half time.
The second half started out the same way, with Iceland maintaining a powerful defense and scoring four goals in a row, leading with 14-10 after ten minutes.
Macedonia put up a good fight but in the end, Iceland stood up as winner.
Tonight, Iceland plays Denmark in qualifying group B and a tough game is expected. “We have to gather our strength for the game against Denmark. Key players are under a lot of strain but until now Denmark has almost had a walk in the park at the championship so far,” commented Iceland’s coach Aron Kristjánsson to Fréttablaðið.
However, Aron is confident that Iceland can win the game. “The victory against Macedonia will give us a boost and take the pressure off,” he said. “But we must have the will to win against Denmark and we want to beat them.”
The game begins at 19:15 Icelandic time.
In 2003 Iceland also beat the same team by 40 goals, the end score being 55-15, as reported on sport.is.
However, the Icelandic record of scoring the most goals in one game, 55, still stands.
Click here to read more about the championship.