Iceland Loses First European Championship Game Skip to content

Iceland Loses First European Championship Game

Despite having been in the lead almost the entire game against Croatia, their first game in the European Championship in Handball in Serbia, the Icelandic national men’s team ended up losing by two goals, 29-31.


Arnór Atlason, who was considered to be Iceland’s the best player in yesterday’s game against Croatia, signing autographs after Iceland returned with the bronze from the last European Championship in 2010 where Croatia placed second. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

“I’m a little sad after having played this well for this long. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Icelandic team play so well against such a strong team. It is an excellent team we were playing against and all their men are in good form,” Iceland’s coach Guðmundur Guðmundsson told

Iceland started off well, focused and relaxed with long offenses. The teams were equal to begin with, after which Iceland took the lead, achieving a difference of up to three goals, 13-10; the score was 15-14 for Iceland at the end of the first half, Fréttablaðið reports.

There was more tension in the second half. Iceland maintained the lead until the final three minutes of the game when Croatia took the lead, 29-28. Iceland played poorly in the final minutes, taking weak shots, and Croatia stood up as winner.

Throughout the rest of the game, the Icelandic team demonstrated solid play with Arnór Atlason its best asset. He scored five goals, created other goal opportunities and played cleverly the entire game.

“It sucks. There’s not much more one can say about this game. We played brilliantly most of the game but still lost,” Arnór commented to “We still showed that we can play good handball against a world class team, which is what we have to bring along to the next game.”

The next game is against Norway tomorrow and if Iceland maintains its strategy, the chances of winning are good, Fréttablaðið predicts.

Click here to read about Iceland’s performance in the recent World Championship in Women’s Handball in Brazil.


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