Spain wins the bronze at Beijing Olympic men´s handball
Source: Xinhua | 08-24-2008 17:13Special Report: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Although failed to stage in the final, Spain found their consolation after beating X-titlist Croatia 35-29 to reap the bronze at Beijing Olympic men's handball tournament here on Sunday.
"We really want this medal. The players did a wonderful job and overcame the defeat in the semifinals. I should congratulate them. We are not favorite in the tournament, but we can stand on the podium. I am very satisfied,"said Spanish coach Juan Carlos Pastor after the game.
The Spanish team rallied from a 12-14 deficit by the break, and did a excellent job in the second half by netting in 23 goals. Pivot Carlos Prieto and left wing Juan Garcia both contributed seven goals to the Spaniard's triumph.
"We controlled the second half better than the opponent. We lifted our performance to a high level. Defending is the key to our success. We took advantage of our solid defence and earned a lot of scores from counter attack after interception their passes. It is our last chance to win a medal and we seized it,"said Juan Garcia in the post-match conference.
After claiming the world title in 2005, Spain experienced poor performance in recent major competitions, only finishing seventh in 2007 World Championship.
Participating in Olympic Games twice and winning two gold medals in 1996 and 2004, Croatia is the most efficient team in Olympic history. However, the highly favored team suffered a painful setback in Beijing, ending their third Olympic charge empty-handed.
"We were so bad in the last two games. I don't know why. Our goalkeeping was so bad,"said Croatian keeper Mirko Alilovic. The two goalkeepers only blocked ten shots throughout the game.