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Date: 4/8/2012

The very last of all 18 Olympics qualification matches of this weekend brought today’s most important decision: As Spain beat Poland in Alicante clearly 33:22, the host is not only the winner of this tournament, but made the Serbian delegation jump for joy. After the Balkan team had beaten Algeria 26:18 they had to hope for a Spanish victory – and thanks to this result, the Serbs qualified for their first ever Olympics since the splitting from Montenegro and twelve years after their last participation their dream came true. Due to the clearly worse goal difference, Poland is out of the race to London, being equal in points with Serbia.


Serbia vs. Algeria 26:18 (15:10)

Serbia had done all they could to qualify for London – with the final whistle of this one-sided game the fate had not been in their hands, but in those of the Spanish and Polish players. For Algeria the third defeat meant to finish fourth ranked in Alicante. 

After the defeat against Spain and the lucky draw against Poland, Serbia played fully concentrated in this crucial match.  From the first minute on the Silver medalist of the European Championship was focused on their two important goals: not only to win the game, but with the highest possible goal difference. Thanks to this result they changed from -3 before the game to +3 after the final whistle. 

After only 15 minutes the Serbs had already turned their goal difference into the positive, leading 10:5 against the chanceless Northern Africans. This gap remained until the break and was even extended to ten goals at 25:15 in minute 54. But like in their previous defeats before, Algeria did not give up and reduced the distance to finally six goals. Top scorer of this game were Vujin (6 goals for Serbia) and Benali (5 goals for Algeria). Besides, Serbian goalkeeper Darko Stanic continued his high level performances with 13 saves. And with the final whistle the long wait had begun for the Serbs.


Statements after the match:

Salah Bouchekriou, coach Algeria: “This competition has been a very good way to test ourselves for the 2013 World Championship in Spain.”

Sassi Boultif, player Algeria: “It has been a difficult match, but there is still a lot for us to improve. The next competition will be better.” 

Veselin Vukovic, coach Serbia: “It has been a tough competition, with three matches in 45 hours. The team of Algeria has improved a lot, and they will be a more competitive team for sure 2013 in Spain.” 

Ivan Nikcevic, player Serbia: “Let's hope that Spain helps us to be in London. Spain wants to be first of the group, that's for sure. I hope that my Valladolid team mates Gurbindo and Sierra help us out.”



Spain vs. Poland 33:22 (18:9)

Game over for Poland, first pot of the seeding list for Spain and celebrations for the Serbian side: Those are the results of the last encounter in Alicante. Poland needed a draw to book their ticket for London, and this result would also have been enough for Spain to finish on first position. But who thought at a draw was completely wrong. From the first second on the Spaniards fulfilled yesterday’s prediction of their coach Valero Rivera: “A Spanish team is always willing to win, no matter the circumstances.” 

Thanks to a great start of Raul Entrerrios, who scored six times in six attempts in the end, Spain was on the winner’s path very early. Poland could cope with the precise attack and powerful defense of the Iberians only until minute 17 and the score of 10:7 – then the Spanish express roll over the Eastern Europeans with a 8:2 series to the pre-decisive halftime result of 18:9. A key was again the goalkeeper’s performance – as yesterday Jose Manuel Sierra played on a world class level, today Jose Hombrados saved 16 shots, thanks to the strong cooperation with the defense, too.

The rest of the match was an easy walk for the Spaniards, as the distance was constantly between nine and eleven goals until minute 55 – then the host accelerated for a short period and caused the Polish disaster with an intermediate score of 33:19. Top scorers in this one-sided match in which every Spanish field player hit the net was Entrerrios with six goals, whilst four Poles each scored four goals.


Statements after the match: 

Bogdan Wenta, coach Poland: “The Spanish victory has lot of reasons. The Spaniards taught us a lesson in handball.”

Bartlomiej Jaszka, player Poland: “We are really unhappy for not having seized the opportunity we had. This game was decided in the first five minutes, Spain has been absolutely superior.”

Valero Rivera, coach Spain: “It is also tough to be on this side of the table, because there are people affected not to go to London. It was a great match. There are Polish players who I admire. The intensity of the game was key, it was an excellent match, I thank all the players.”

Raúl Entrerríos, player Spain: “We have shown a complete game in all aspects. We are absolutely satisfied because we have worked as a team.”


Previous results:


Poland vs. Algeria 28:27 (11:13)

Spain vs. Serbia 30:27 (11:10)



Serbia vs. Poland 25:25 (14:15)

Spain vs. Algeria 20:28 (9:14)


Final ranking:

1. Spain/6:0 points, 2. Serbia/3:3 points/+5 goals, 3. Poland/3:3 points/-10 goals, 4. Algeria/0:6 points