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Iceland crowd
Photo: Icelandic supporters go wild (screenshot from RÚV).

Iceland Beats Portugal in Opening Game of World Championship

The men’s national handball team defeated Portugal in their opening game of the 2023 World Men’s Handball Championship. Left winger Bjarki Már Elísson was chosen man of the match by the IHF.

Tight, right until the end

The men’s national handball team took the stage for the World Men’s Handball Championship, held in Poland and Sweden from 11 to 29 January 2023, yesterday. Iceland started well, gaining a four-goal lead during the 12th minute of the game. Portugal showed spirit, however, and fought back to even the score right before halftime.

Read More: Iceland Review Speaks to Guðjón Valur, One of Iceland’s Most Enduring Handball Stars

The second half was similarly tight. The two teams were neck and neck, until the game appeared to swing in Iceland’s favour during the 42nd minute of the game. Left back Fábio Magalhaes was shown a red card for a cynical foul against Iceland’s Ómar Ingi Magnússon (who was chosen Iceland’s Athlete of the Year in late December). But Portugal kept pushing. They reduced the deficit to zero goals during the 52nd minute – before Iceland pulled away over the final minutes of the game. Final score: 30-26.

Iceland’s supporters dominate the stands

Iceland’s players weren’t the only ones who put in a star performance; the team’s supporters, who seemed to outnumber the Portuguese, were especially vocal during the game. After the win, the crowd stood up to sing Ég er kominn heim; the players were visibly moved.

Iceland will play its second match of the tournament against Hungary tomorrow. Hungary also won their first game of the Championship. Iceland’s team is predicted to go far in the tournament.

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