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Date: 20.08.2016

In what was almost an exact repeat of the 2015 IHF Women’s World Championship final, Norway defeated the Netherlands to claim the bronze medal in the women’s handball competition at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. 

"I'm obviously cheering, but it's still a bit bitter," said Veronica Kristiansen after the match. "However, it's not that many people who get to experience a medal in the Olympics, so I'm proud of that."

Future Arena, Saturday 20 August
Bronze-medal match: Netherlands vs Norway 26:36 (13:19)

Just as they did in the Denmark 2015 final, Norway won the match in the first half when they created the key difference of six goals by half-time. After five minutes when Stine Oftedal scored her first goal Norway already led 4:1, and by the time Netherlands coach Henk Groener requested his first time-out the 2012 Olympic champions were in front 7:2. 

The Netherlands had serious trouble preventing Norway’s fast breaks and counter attacks early on, while the Scandinavian side limited their ability to do the same and therefore made the Dutch attack far less effective. 

Norway hit 10 goals thanks to Amanda Kurtovic in the 13th, who scored from her position at right wing, and midway through the half when they held a commanding 11:5 advantage the current world and European champions showed no sign of slowing. The Netherlands seemed to find more motivation in the second quarter of the half, but they could not close the deficit created in the opening minutes. 

Nycke Groot scored an outstanding outside shot right before the half-time buzzer, but even with her effort the Netherlands still trailed by six at the break. At that stage Norway goalkeeper Kari Aalvik Grimsbo (39% overall) saved at a rate of 43%, and she continued to be a problem for the Netherlands through the second period. 

When Michelle Goos found a way past Grimsbo from left wing Norway still held a substantial lead at 27:21, and as the clock ticked down it was clear the bronze medal was decided. Oftedal scored her fifth on a breakthrough in the 59th, and she added one more to earn a 10-goal difference with 40 seconds on the clock, where the score stayed when the final whistle sounded. 

"We started fighting more on defence and getting a little more control, and that's how we wanted to play second half," said Groener following the game. "We fought back, but in the end it was not enough. Norway scored too many easy goals. With a few minutes left in the match it was obvious we were not going to win.

"I am disappointed after this match but I have respect for the performance of Norway."