British Handball’s brave new world post-London 2012

EHF EURO 2016

Great Britain lost their final Men’s EHF EURO 2016 home qualification match 20:32 (12:16) against Greece in front of their first London crowd since the London 2012 Olympics finished back in August.

The 600-capacity crowd at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in South London saw Bill Baillie’s men put up a strong fight against a tough Greek side featuring a number of players who won the EHF Men’s Challenge club cup last season with A.C. Diomidis Argous.

The result means that Great Britain cannot qualify for EHF EURO 2016 in Poland anymore but Greece are now well on their way to qualification’s play-offs.

Coach Baillie’s side kept in touch with Greece throughout the first half going in at the break just four goals down, but the mental and physical experience of their opponents, combined with missed opportunities, saw a final double-digit victory which flattered the visitors.

Britain suffered a setback as line player Chris McDermott went down early on hard on his right knee which he injured in their Group B match against Italy on Thursday, and played no further part in the match, leaving the National Sports Centre on crutches with an ice-pack on the affected area.

In the second half Great Britain kept the score within five, but the last 15 minutes saw the home side tire after some good defensive work and Greece slowly crept out of sight with Vyron Papadopoulos adding to his tally from the penalty line, finishing the half on six goals and seven in total.

19-year-old Ryan Goodwin, who made his Great Britain debut on Thursday against Italy in Scotland scored four goals in the second half.

Steven Larsson top scored for Great Britain with 10 goals, whilst Vyron Papadopoulos was Greece’s top scorer with seven.

“The team performance was better than against Italy on Thursday because we stopped thinking about making mistakes and just played great.

“My own performance was OK, but it was a shame that Greece man-marked me in the second half and took me out – maybe I could have helped the other guys more”, said Larsson.

Greek left-back Spyridon Balomenos said: “It was a normal game for us, it was not so difficult to win, I do not say that because we are arrogant but there is a difference between Great Britain’s level and ours.”

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