The Icelandic men’s handball team beat Spain 36-30 in the semi-finals at the Beijing Olympics at noon today. Iceland has now made it to the finals and will play France for the gold on Sunday.
Iceland has never made it this far in handball before. Although they’ve made it to the semi-finals in previous big tournaments, they have never brought home a medal.
Iceland was off to a fantastic start, leading 5-0 after only a few minutes into the game. Spain managed to catch up at 9-9, but then Iceland kicked back and re-achieved a lead of five goals. The first half finished 17-15 for Iceland, ruv.is reports.
Iceland remained the stronger team throughout the entire second half and constantly increased their lead; at one point Iceland led by seven goals. Towards the end Spain put up an impressive fight, but Iceland managed to stay in the lead until the very end.
Iceland’s goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson played brilliantly, deflecting 15 shots in total. The Icelandic defense was also impeccable. Gudjón Valur Sigurdsson and Logi Geirsson were the most successful shooters of the Icelandic team, scoring seven goals each.
The best player of the Spanish team was goalkeeper David Berrufet, who deflected 18 shots, five of which were fast breaks.
The Icelandic handball team already has the silver secured, something which an Icelandic athlete has not achieved since Vilhjálmur Einarsson won the silver medal in triple jump at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.
In 1984 Bjarni Fridriksson won the bronze medal for Iceland in judo at the Olympics in Los Angeles, and in 2000 Vala Flosadóttir returned home with the bronze after placing third in pole vault at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
However, no Icelandic athlete has ever won the gold at the Olympics.
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