After losing the opening match to hosts Brazil, Norway has showed an improving performance, beating Spain and smashing the surprise team Angola in the last two rounds. On the other hand, Montenegro is probably the biggest flop of the tournament. Even though they reactivated the legendary Bojana Popovic for the Olympic Games, the last Olympics’ silver medalists couldn’t collect a single point in the first three rounds, they even lost to Angola in the second match.
Before the match, Montenegro made a substitution, Marija Jovanovic came in, Bojana Popovic finished the competition. Norway started with a quick 3-0, but Montenegro managed to turn up the speed with another 3-0 to level the score (3-3). The next few minutes went by hand in hand, until Norway managed to make a 8-1 period (6-13). Kari Grimsbö was on the top of her game, she had an over 50% of saves already in the first half. Montenegro didn’t have the power once again to have a chance against the defending champions, even though Marina Rajcic showed a good performance in the goal, saving several Norwegian attempts, including a penalty from Nora Mörk. Norway used a seventh field player instead of the goalkeeper more times, mostly successful. The half ended with a confident Norwegian lead (11-16).
The second half started with a post from Milena Raicevic and two saves from Kari Grimsbö, but more than three minutes were gone when the first goal of the half arrived by Sanna Solberg on a fastbreak. Montenegro was not able to reduce the gap between the two teams, Norway was fast, confident and powerful while Montenegro was quite the opposite of that. Grimsbö continued with spectacular saves to push Montenegro closer to the edge of goodbye, and when due to a 3-0, the difference was 7 goals for the first time in the match (17-24), Montenegro seemed to be lost. The outcome of the match was not in question any more, Norway collected another two points. The last Montenegrin goal was scored in the 56th minute by Milena Raicevic (19-24) but Norway responded with four goals in the last minutes, so the difference was the biggest in the end of the game (19-28). Kari Aalvik Grimsbö finished the game with an incredible 60% save percentage, saving 15 of the 21 shots of the powerful Montenegrin backline.
The final whistle saved the Balkan girls from the two-digit difference against the continuously improving Norway, but the silver medalist of the last edition said goodbye to the competition after the group matches. One might call this a surprise but it seems the year 2012 was an once-in-a-lifetime year for Montenegro (Olympic silver and EURO gold) that can’t be repeated. Seeing the last competitions, Montenegro’s group matches exit is not a huge surprise but the level of their game was really disappointing during the whole tournament. One thing is sure, the Balkan girls and staff will have a tough time finding the main reasons behind the great disappointment…
Rio 2016 – Women’s Handball Tournament – Group A, 4th round
Montenegro – Norway 19-28 (11-16)
Montenegro: D. Jaukovic 5(2), K. Bulatovic 4(2), S. Lazovic 2, M. Raicevic 2, R. Petrovic 2, J. Radicevic 2, E. Ramusovic 1, M. Mehmedovic 1
Norway: N. Mörk 6(1), C. Herrem 5, V. Kristiansen 5(2), Sa. Solberg 3, H. Löke 2, A. Kurtovic 2, E.H. Arntzen 2(2), S. Oftedal 1, M. Frafjord 1, L-K. Riegelhuth Koren 1
Penalties: 4/5 – 5/6
Suspensions: 10 minutes – 8 minutes
Standing after four rounds:
1. Norway 6 points (+19) – already quarterfinalists
2. Brazil 6 points (+15) – already quarterfinalists
3. Spain 4 points (+5)
4. Angola 4 points (-8)
5. Romania 4 points (-10)
6. Montenegro 0 points – already eliminated