As it was said many times before, South Korea and Olympic handball are a whole different story from everything else. It is never easy to play against a team with such an unusual playing style as South Korea, and it is especially true in the case of a first match of a tournament. If Russia didn’t know that, they definitely learned the lesson in the first day of handball in Rio de Janeiro. If there are two different “handball schools” in the world, then Russia and South Korea are like day and night, North and South or fire and water.
The match started better for the lightning quick Asians, but it didn’t take long for the Russian girls to find their momentum. The two teams went side by side, no team could build up a lead bigger than two goals. In the second part of the first half, Russia seemed to control the Korean attacks better, but the Asian girls didn’t let them go away with a victory so easily: they went to rest with a narrow one goal lead (13-12).
In the beginning of the second half, Russia seemed to have stayed in the locker room: with six goals in the first five minutes of the second half without a Russian response, South Korea built up a seven-goal lead (19-12). But in the remaining 24 minutes of the second half, the girls of Evgeny Trefilov found their rhythm while South Korea got more and more tired against the physically much stronger opponent. The Asians lost momentum and Russia used every single mistake. A change in the Russian goal was essential for the great Russian comeback, Viktoriia Kalinina brought up a 69% performance to help Russia to a 30-25 win. South Korea scored only 6 goals in the last 24 minutes of the match.
Rio 2016 – Women’s Handball Tournament – Group B, first round
Russia – South Korea 30-25 (12-13)
Russia: M. Sudakova 6, A. Vyakhireva 5(1), I. Bliznova 4, M. Petrova 3, A. Sen 2, V. Zhylinskayte 2, V. Bobrovnikova 2, P. Kuznetsova 2, E. Ilina 2, D. Dmitrieva 1, E. Marennikova 1
South Korea: Y. Jung 6, O. Kim 6(3), E.H. Ryu 3, H. Yoo 2, J. Kim 2, S. Choi 2, H. Sim 2, S. Yu 2
Penalties: 1/1 – 3/3
Suspensions: 6 minutes – 14 minutes (3×2 for H. Sim)