Olympic Games

Russian kingdom – Rio in numbers

Russian kingdom – Rio in numbers

38 matches were played during the women’s handball tournament in Rio de Janeiro. 34 of them were decided after the regular time, two ended in a draw (Netherlands-Sweden 29-29 and Netherlands-South Korea 32-32), another went to extra time (QF: Spain-France 23-23, 26-27 after extra time, SF: Russia-Norway 31-31, 38-37 after extra time), however, no match went to a 7m shootout. Russia won all of their eight matches so their kingdom is well-deserved; they are the proof that it is possible to win a big competition without losing a match. They won the first ever gold medal of Russian women’s handball at the Olympic Games after winning a silver in Beijing 2008 – and they are the team to stop Norway on their road to the golden treble. France’s run was also historic: even though they lost the final, this silver medal is the best participation of the country in the women’s tournament: this is France’s first ever medal. After two gold medals, Norway is leaving Rio with a bronze medal. Losing the semifinal was a big disappointment to the Norwegian girls – it is rare to see their tears on the court -, but they proved once again that they are true sportswomen and raised themselves to win the bronze. The Netherlands participated in their first ever Olympic Games – whatever happened, it is historic. They just missed the Olympic medal, but their 4th place is a great result for this young team. With this improvement of the last years, this is not the last time we have seen them in the top 4.

If we take a closer look at the Dutch participation, they finished in the 4th position with two victories, two draws and 4 defeats. They happened to be the arch-nemesis of the South Americans as their two victories came against Argentina in the group and against Brazil in the quarterfinal. Speaking about Brazil, the hosts finished in the 5th place which is their best performance at the Olympic Games so far, however, their Olympic medal dream is broken. Compared to the 4th-placed Netherlands, Brazil won four of their matches and lost only two – too bad for them that the second one came in the worst possible time to end their dreams about the podium. This is the third time in a short period of time that Brazil loses the first match after winning the group: in London they lost the quarters to Norway and in 2015, they lost the 1/8 finals to Romania at the world championship.

Deonise Fachinello, Brazil

Brazil’s medal dreams were broken by the Netherlands in the quarters.

There were 1978 goals scored during the women’s handball tournament. The team with the highest number of scored goals was Russia (256 – 249 in the regular time), they are followed by Norway (247 – 241 in regular time), the Netherlands is third (217), France came in fourth (188 – 184 in regular time). No miracle, these teams played all the eight matches possible. It gives us a bit clearer picture if we examine the average number of scored goals. This list is also led by Russia; their average number of goals was 32 goals during their matches. Norway is not far away from them with 31 goals per match, the third best average belongs to Sweden (28,3/match). The silver medalists France scored 23,5 goals in average, there were five more teams with a better performance: the Netherlands (27,1), Angola (23,9), Brazil (26,8), Spain (25,2) and South Korea (26). But the reason why France still finished on the podium can clearly be seen if we examine the number of goals conceded. It is no surprise that the teams with the least number of matches played conceded the least number of goals: Romania (119), Montenegro (134), South Korea (136) and Spain (143 – 139 in regular time) were the top 4. But it is better if we count the average number of goals conceded. France tops this list with 20,5 goals conceded in average, this is far above everyone in the tournament. As an interesting fact, Russia’s average was the second worst in the comparison (28,75), only Argentina had a worse defense than the new Olympic champions (29,4). Spain and Romania were the two teams with the second best average (23,8) – however, Spain seems a bit better in this case as they conceded four goals in extra time which means a better goal rate, considering the goals conceded in the regular time of the matches.

The top scorer of the tournament was Norway’s left handed firegun, Nora Mörk. She finished with 62 goals out of 96 shots (65%). She is followed by another leftie, Alexandra Lacrabere with 46 goals. The “bronze” belongs to Romania’s superstar Cristina Neagu with 44 goals – she only had five matches to collect this number of goals. Considering the field goals, Mörk is topping this list too, with 37 field goals, and is also followed by Lacrabere. However, in this aspect, Cristina Neagu (30) is overtaken by Nathalie Hagman (32) and Heidi Löke (31). Examining the assists, there was nobody better than Norwegian captain Stine Oftedal (39), followed by Marta Mangue (27) and Nycke Groot (25). As an interesting fact, received 7m throws also count as assists, that is why for example Heidi Löke has 23 of them. Taking the goals+assists list, Nora Mörk is on top here too.

Nora Mørk, Norway

Nora Mørk was the top scorer of the tournament with 62 goals – no player could come close to her in this list.

If we take a closer look at the attacking performance of the teams, Norway and Russia were the most accurate teams with 63-63%, while Sweden was the best in penalties with 92%, Isabelle Gulldén and Nathalie Hagman scored 26 goals out of 28 penalties taken. It is no surprise that the Netherlands and Norway were the two teams with the highest number of fast breaks. The Dutch girls had 60 of them, 48 of them resulted in goal, while Norway had 45 fast break goals from 58 shots. Counting the 9-meter-shots, Russia is topping the list with a 45% of efficiency (54 goals / 121 shots) – the Netherlands overtook them in the number of shots and goals too (59 goals / 153 shots), however, the Dutch girls’ efficiency was 39%. The worst 9m rate belongs to Montenegro, they only made 19 goals out of 80 shots which is far below the expectations, and even more if we consider they had Katarina Bulatovic and Bojana Popovic in their backline. Considering the goalkeeper performance of the teams, there is no surprise that France is on the top of the list with 39%. Norway comes second with 36%, but the rate of Romania and Spain (35%) is also above the average.

In the individual goalkeeper performance, Laura Glauser is on the top with 41%. Her most outstanding performance was the 15 minutes she played in the semifinal against the Netherlands: she saved 71% of the shots, taking a big part in the French victory in the end. The second best goalkeeper was Kari Aalvik Grimsbö (40%) from Norway – she made the biggest number of saves and she had to face the most number of shots in the whole tournament (90 saves / 227 shots). She had an excellent match against Montenegro (60%) and her performance against Sweden in the first half (70%) was also spectacular. Amandine Leynaud is 3rd with 38%.

Kari Aalvik Grimsbø | Photo: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud

Kari Aalvik Grimsbø had the most saves from the most shots. | Photo: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud

The team fair play list is topped by France with 75 points which means 9,4 points per match. Romania is second with 48 points which is a lot less than France’s, however, it means a higher average (9,6). The points in the fair play list are counted in the following way: blue cards mean 10 points, a red card is 5 points, a 2 minutes suspension means 2 while a yellow card means 1 point in the list. The less fair team of the tournament was Angola with two red cards and 34 two-min suspensions. In the players’ list, Eduarda Amorim was the “bad girl”, followed by Angola’s Wuta Dombaxi (2 red cards on her own). This was the first big international competition where the referees had a blue card in their pockets, however, these blue cards stayed there: no player received a blue card during the Olympic tournament.

Besides the blue card, another important new rule was the one with the seven field players. From now on, the seventh field player doesn’t have to wear a different shirt than the others, so she is not the one that has to be substituted by the goalkeeper – any player can come off so the goalkeeper can enter. However, there is the risk that no player can enter the six-meter area if the goalkeeper can’t come back in time. I took a closer look if this meant something in the number of goals scored by the other team’s goalkeepers. As it could be seen, the teams tried to play with one extra player on court, but they seemed to be more cautious – or fast enough for the goalkeepers to enter. Two goalkeepers scored in this situation – Tess Wester scored twice, Barbara Arenhart once, but there were also attempts from other goalkeepers too: Angola and Argentina had one-one, while Amandine Leynaud had two unsuccessful attempts – one of them hit the post. There are no special statistics about the number of goals scored against an empty goal – these are 9m shots in the stats, but there were quite a lot of field player goals from the other half of the court.


Heidi Löke was the Iron Woman of the tournament.

Considering the most playing time by players, Heidi Löke was the one with the most reason to be tired: she played 7 hours and 8 minutes in the 8 games – or rather 8 hours 10 minutes with the extra time. In average, it means 53,5 minutes per game. This rate was also reached by Brazil’s Ana Paula Rodrigues: in their six matches, she played 5 hours and 21 minutes. However, this rate is not the highest this tournament has seen: Angola’s Natalia Bernardo and South Korea’s Hyunji Yoo spent 57,2 minutes on court each match. The winner of these two is Yoo with 13 seconds more spent on court. Besides the Norwegian iron woman Heidi Löke, there were three players above 6 hours: Nycke Groot (6 hours 38 minutes), Allison Pineau (6 hours 6 minutes) and Polina Kuznetsova (6 hours 2 minutes).

The statistics were officially published by the International Handball Federation’s website.

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Olympic Games

Hungarian, handball and travel addict. Always hungry for information about handball and always ready to share these with others.

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