The always extremely motivated and so far unbeaten Brazil met Spain in the third round of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In the last round, Brazil smashed Romania 26-13, while Spain was defeated by an improving Norway by three goals in a close match. The hosts played their first matches with confidence and a lot of passion, and it seemed anything but easy for the Spanish girls to win against them in the battle of “Guerreras”.
The match started with both teams going side by side, both teams making errors and using each other’s mistakes to get an advantage. In the first quarter of the match, the two left wings, Eli Pinedo and Fernanda da Silva were on fire – and fast as lightning. After the first 10-12 minutes, the Spaniards seemed to find the weapon against the strong Brazilian defense and goalkeepers, and with 22 minutes gone, they built up a comfortable five-goal lead against the hosts in the hot atmosphere of the Future Arena (8-13). Even though the last 10 minutes of the half were a lot better for Brazil, the Spanish Guerreras were still three goals up at halftime (12-15).
The second half was a much more balanced one, despite Brazil coming closer and closer with each 10 minutes gone, the Spanish girls didn’t get desperate and didn’t let the match get out of their hands. They even survived situations with two players down. The difference was between 2 and 3 goals most of the time, the Brazilians didn’t really have the chance to equalize. The confident Brazil of the first rounds made a lot of mistakes today and these mistakes were punished by the strong Spaniards.
The Spanish girls put up a defense that made the powerful Brazilians struggle in front of the defense, and Silvia Navarro was also stopping the shots with a good percentage. On the other side, the Brazilian goalkeepers were not in their best day today, they were far below their level from the first two games. In the 55th minute, the Brazilians’ hope was almost relived as Fernanda da Silva scored and Brazil was only goal behind (24-25). However, Spain could find some more power to turn to a bigger speed and didn’t let Brazil score in the last five minutes of the game, while they netted four times. Spain won 29-24 in an important match and defeated Brazil on home court, so Brazil is not unbeaten in the competition any more.
Rio 2016 – Women’s Handball Tournament – Group A, 3rd round
Brazil – Spain 24-29 (12-15)
Brazil: F. da Silva 7(2), A. Nascimento 6(4), E. Amorim 4, D. Fachinello 3, D. Piedade 1, A.P. Rodrigues 1, J. Quintino 1, F. da Rocha 1
Spain: N. Pena 8(3), E. Pinedo 6, A. Cabral 6, C. Martín 3, E. Chavez 3, M. Aguilar 2, M. Mangue 1
Penalties: 6/7 – 3/4
Suspensions: 10 minutes – 16 minutes