The hosts of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil started their campaign very well in the tournament by beating defending champions Norway in the first round of the tournament. On the other hand, Romania suffered a surprising defeat to Angola in the beginning. If the start determins a team’s performance in a tournament, then Romania didn’t have good chances for the second match against the extra motivated Brazilians.
Brazil started the way they showed the Europeans that they will have no chance in the match. After six minutes gone, Brazil was already four goals ahead (5-1). Ana Paula Rodrigues was unstoppable once again, she scored whenever she wanted, and the Romanian defense couldn’t find the weapon against the powerful Brazilian attacks. On the other side of the court, the Europeans seemed to be completely powerless and clueless: they missed a lot of chances against the Brazilian defense and Barbara Arenhart. In the middle of the first half, Eduarda Amorim received a direct red card for a foul on Melinda Geiger and even if it was a big loss for the home team, it didn’t break their momentum. Romania couldn’t come closer to the Brazilians, they kept them in a comfortable 4-5 goals distance. At halftime, Brazil had a well-deserved 5-goal lead against the bronze medalists of the last world championship (14-9).
Speaking about the last world championship, it was Romania in the 1/8 finals last time in Denmark that broke Brazil’s dreams about repeating their success from Serbia 2013. Moreover, several Brazilian players played in the Romanian championship: Mayssa Pessoa, Fernanda da Silva and Ana Paula Rodrigues won the Champions League with CSM Bucuresti, Deonise Fachinello left the club in the middle of the season, while Alexandra Nascimento spent two years and Barbara Arenhart one year in Baia Mare and left the club last summer. However, none of them will stay in Romania for the next season.
The second half didn’t start well for the Romanians, they couldn’t score for more than six minutes while Brazil netted three times, so the match was basically decided in this part of the match. The rest of the game was a playground for the powerful and extremely motivated Brazilians, while Romania was not able to score: they only made four goals in the second half of the match. Cristina Neagu was not on the top of her game, unlike their match in the world championship where she was world class, winning the match almost on her own. There were news about Neagu not being healthy before the Olympic Games, and this is the worst scenario happening to the Neagu-addicted Romanians.
With 10 minutes left from the game, Brazil reached the knockout difference of 10 goals and the samba could start in the stands. Even Barbara Arenhart scored, the only bad news for Brazil was that Mayara Moura seemed to injure her knee, she didn’t return to court. While Brazil also made some mistakes, they still doubled Romania’s number of goals: they won 26-13. If anybody had a single doubt about Brazil’s intentions for the Olympic Games: Brazil is a serious contender for at least a medal…
Rio 2016 – Women’s Handball Tournament – Group A, 2nd round
Brazil – Romania 26-13 (14-9)
Brazil: A.P. Rodrigues 8(3), A. Nascimento 4, D. Fachinello 4, E. Amorim 2, S. Rocha 2, F. Diniz 1, D. Piedade 1, F. da Silva 1, J. Quintino 1, B. Arenhart 1, F. Rocha 1
Romania: C. Neagu 6(2), O. Manea 2, M. Geiger 2, V. Ardean Elisei 1, P. Vizitiu 1, L. Chiper 1
Penalties: 3/5 – 2/4
Suspensions: 6 minutes (DR for E. Amorim) – 8 minutes