Inexperienced GB handballers lose again

Great Britain men's handball coach Dragan Djukic believes a lack of experience in his players was the cause of their latest London 2012 Olympic Games defeat.


Team GB lost 32-21 to Argentina - a side that Djukic had targeted as one of the two wins needed to qualify for the last eight - after matching them for much of the first half.

But the Serbian admitted that missed opportunities against a good side would always tell and hopes to bounce back against Iceland and Tunisia, the second of the two wins targeted by Djukic.

"We were matching them for a while and I felt we had a good chance," he said.

"But then we began missing chances and the Argentina team were technically better in the important stages of the game.

"We also missed tackles as well as shots on goal - you cannot do that against a very good team like them.

"But they are experienced and further down the line than we are. We are inexperienced and are still improving and growing as a side.

"We have Tunisia and Iceland left, and we will definitely need to pick ourselves up for the Tunisians. We still want to finish with a very strong performance in this competition."

Great Britain, looking to put their slow starts behind them, were in touch with Argentina for the first ten minutes - restricting the South Americans to six goals.

Britain's defence was tight, with captain Bobby White and Jesper Parker both making superb saves as Djukic alternated between the two keepers.

Team GB were working hard to keep in touch with Argentina, with the lead never getting more than five before the break.

White was in great form in a very physical contest, but Argentina managed to stretch back to a five-goal lead as they headed into the half 16-11 up.

The second half was played in the same frenetic pace as the first 30 minutes, but Argentina's extra big tournament experience started to take control of the game - stretching the lead to eight after ten minutes played.

With two-minute suspensions starting to take their toll - at one point, there were just four outfield players on court - Team GB allowed Argentina to undo all the hard work and almost double their lead.

Djukic's side never gave up and scored seven goals in the last five minutes, with only three in reply from Argentina, before they ran out 32-21 winners.

Line player Christopher McDermott admiited that Team GB were just not up to the challenge on the day, and made a heartfelt apology to the fans, who have thrown their support behind the handballers.

"I am heartbroken," said McDermott.

"I would like to say sorry to all the fans who were brilliant and gave us such magnificent and passionate support.

"We had targeted this game for the last six years. All the hard work we had put in working and building ourselves up for this match, and we just could not do it.

"We held them up to near the break but they just got away from us. We could not live with them after half-time."

© Sportsbeat 2012

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