The hosts of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil beat defending champions Norway 31-28 (17-16) in the first handball match of the Olympics.
Norway is famous for starting the tournaments bad: in London they lost to France in the opening round and finished only 4th in the group, still won the gold medal in the end. On the other hand, Brazil started well in London and lost to Norway in the quarterfinal, so the host girls wanted to take revenge and start off with a victory against the two-time defending champion.
Stine Oftedal scored the first goal of the Olympic handball tournament, but after the first few minutes, Brazil took control of the game. The team of Morten Soubak was burning on 1000 degrees, the Brazilians were rough in defense, collecting several 2min suspensions. For example, team captain Fabiana Diniz collected her third suspension and a red card after just 18 minutes. This didn’t break the momentum of the Brazilians, they took a five-goal lead over the defending champions. The goalkeepers on both sides (Bárbara Arenhart and Kari Aalvik Grimsbö) were not on the top of their game and a change in the Brazilian goal helped them a lot to build up their advantage. Norway did better in the second part of the first half, Nora Mörk stood on the top of her troop, she scored flawlessly during the whole match. Brazil lead 17-16 at halftime.
In the beginning of the second half, the defenses seemed to be working better. The both teams went side by side for a while, but the Norwegian girls weren’t able to put themselves to the front. If the Brazilian attacks were slowing down, Ana Paula Rodrigues took control of her team and put up a one-girl-show in the Brazilian team. Norway got stuck on 21 goals as Brazil opened the gap to 27-21 in favor of them. The Scandinavian girls didn’t seem sharp enough today to stop the extra motivated Brazilians, the match became a direct duel between Nora Mörk and Ana Paula Rodrigues, both players came out with a great performance. The both finished tied on 12 goals, but the match was decided easier than that: Brazil won 31-28 against Norway in the opening match, well deserved.
Rio 2016, Women’s Handball Tournament, Group A, 1st round
Brazil – Norway 31-28 (17-16)
Brazil: A. P. Rodrigues 12(1), D. Fachinello 5, E. Amorim 4, D. Piedade 3, F. Da Silva 3, J. Quintino 2, A. Nascimento 2
Norway: N. Mörk 12(7), H. Löke 6, S. Oftedal 3, L-K. Riegelhuth Koren 2, C. Herrem 2, A. Kurtovic 1, E. Arntzen 1, V. Kristiansen 1
Suspensions: 16 minutes – 4 minutes
Penalties: 1/1 – 7/8