London 2012 was a historical Olympic Games for the Brazilian women’s national team: they finished 6th in the British capital. However, the 6th place would be somewhat a disappointment for the Brazilian ladies on home court. Their goal is to win a medal in Rio de Janeiro, but their secret dreams go further than that: like every athlete, they dream about winning the gold medal for their country.
The Brazilian national team has been rising constantly, and they reached the top by winning the world championship in Serbia in 2013, for the first time in the country’s handball history. With the better and better results, the players and the passionate handball fans expected a growth in popularity and publicity of the sport and better circumstances in the national league and for handball as a whole, however, not much of these expectations were fulfilled in the past years. Last year, they finished 10th at the world championship in Denmark, and the Olympic Games is supposed to answer the so frequently asked question: which one is the real face of Brazil?
The core of the national team has been the same since ages, and this is going to be the last big international competition for the Golden Generation of Brazilian handball: team captain Fabiana “Dara” Diniz will retire after the OG, and one of the pioneers of the Brazilian handball in Europe, Daniela Piedade will stop playing in the national team by the end of August. Currently, almost everyone of them is playing in Europe which means they are gaining a lot of international experience in the strongest leagues and biggest club competitions of the world. If they can mix the European “coldness” in the crucial moments, the Brazilian heart and passion and use the home court and the support of the Brazilian crowd as an advantage and not as a pressure, they can reach their dreams to bring a medal home.
In the last days of preparation for the Olympic Games, they played two friendly matches with the WCh 2015 silver medalist Netherlands, winning the first (29-27) and tying in the second (23-23).
The Brazilian team roster can be seen HERE.
Key players: the goalkeepers (Barbara Arenhart/Mayssa Pessoa), Eduarda Amorim (left back), Ana Paula Rodrigues (playmaker)
Absentees: Hannah Nunes (returning from knee injury), Jaqueline Anastacio, Amanda Andrade (didn’t get selected)
Chances: Brazil chose the probably more difficult group with London’s three medalists Norway, Montenegro and Spain, their dream breakers from the world championship Romania, and the “dark horse” Angola. If they survive their tough group, it doesn’t necessarily mean easier quarterfinals: Russia, France, the Netherlands, Sweden or South Korea can be a QF opponent. It’s hard to tell which Brazil we will see, but in their good day they can beat anyone. It will be anything but easy for the home girls, 10 teams are going for the medals with similar chances, but if they can use all their advantages from the home court, they can be one of them. One thing is sure: they won’t lack passion, motivation and support.