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Date: 4/7/2012

Both qualificants for the 2012 Olympic Games are known at the Men’s Qualification Tournament in Gothenburg after the second match day already: After their each second victories Sweden and Hungary have made their way to London – FYR Macedonia and Brazil are out of the race.


Brazil vs. Hungary 27:29 (15:16)

Despite in total 20 saves of their outstanding goalkeeper Nandor Fazekas, Hungary had to shiver until 15 seconds before the end, until their second victory at the Olympic Qualification Tournament was secured. Due to a very weak performance in attack against a brave fighting Brazilian team the Europeans could not decide the game earlier. Top scorers were Gabor Csaszar (6 goals for Hungary) and Jose Fernando Pacheco with seven goals for the Brazilians, who still wait for their first point in Gothenburg.   

Pushed by their again brilliant saving goalkeeper Maik Santos Brazil was on eye level in the first half. The defense on the Pan Americans stood strong and was well adapted to the Hungarian attack. On the other hand, goalkeeper Nandor Fazekas showed the same high level as on Friday 6 April, when his team had beaten FYR Macedonia. Hungary was in lead all the time in the first half and intermediately was away with four goals. But the Brazilians were able to catch-up several times, including some samba goals of their top scorer Felipe Ribeiro. With some more concentration in attack they could even have equalized.

Brazil coach Javier Cuesta needed an early time-out in minute 40, as his players had stopped scoring: After only one goal in ten minutes and failing seven times against Fazekas, Cuesta pulled the break at 16:20. And the Hungarians could not take a bigger advantage of this weak re-starting period of their opponents as they caused too many mistakes in attack – whilst the Pan-Americans again were on track at 20:22. Like during their 20:25 defeat against Sweden the day before, Brazil ran off their power minute by minute in the final stage.  But the Hungarians were not able to decide the game, as they missed clearest chances like in total three penalty shots and several counter attacks. And with only six minutes to go and a close 24:25 on the scoreboard the audience in Gothenburg realized that a surprise was in the air – and started shouting “Brazil, Brazil” for the brave fighting underdogs, as Hungary had lost their pace and confidence completely and missed means and ideas to get through the very offensive Brazilian defense. 

39 seconds before the final buzzer and a tight 28:27 Hungarian coach Lajos Mocsai took his time-out to instruct his team for the final attack – successfully, as Szabolcs Zubai decided the game 15 seconds before the end with the 29:27 and made his team mates dance and jump on the field.


Statements after the match:

Javier Cuesta, coach Brazil: “I am absolutely satisfied with the work of my players. This was one of the best matches of this team, since I am their coach and I am proud to be their coach. We fought, we tried everything, but in the end we lost. I believe this team will improve in the future.”

Lajos Mocsai, coach Hungary: “I admire the work of Javier Cuesta, as we know for more than 20 years. And he has a real powerful team, which was fresher than us after their first game. We had to give full energy against FYR Macedonia on Friday 6 April and it was hard for us to find a recipe against the open Brazilian defense. We could have decided the match earlier, but we missed some great opportunities. But this is handball. We needed to use our creative players in the end game, and this was successful. Now I hope that we already qualify today for the Olympic Games.”

Mate Lekai, player Hungary: “Brazil was much better than last year at the World Championship. It was hard for us to play against their open defense, but we controlled the game for 50 minutes. Then we missed clear chances, the final stage was open – but we were the lucky winner. Thanks to our spectators, who created a positive atmosphere.”



FYR Macedonia vs. Sweden 23:27 (12:14)

They had to wait twelve long years for this moment: Thanks to 17 saves of goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand and eight goals of brilliant Kim Andersson, Sweden qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London. After their second victory they did not only take their ticket to the Olympics for the seventh time in history, but also decided the whole tournament, as Hungary is through to London, too. Both teams fight for the tournament victory on Sunday 8 April.

After missing the qualification for the Olympics 2004 and 2008, the Swedish men have followed their female team, which had already booked their ticket. In the Olympic history the Swedish men have been three times in Olympic finals (1992, 1996, 2000), but never took the Gold medal.

When leaving the field after a highly emotional duel, the Swedish players received the applause of the Hungarian players and were celebrated by their spectators after their coaches Staffan Olsson and Ola Lindgren had been jumping on the bench even before the final buzzer.

More than 4000 Macedonians shouted, sang and cheered for their team on the one side of the Scandinavium, the same number chanted “Heja Sverige” on the other side. A wall of red and yellow beside a crowd of yellow and blue caused a great, vociferous atmosphere. The Swedish team had changed their tactics in contrast to their victory against Brazil to a more speedful one, counting on their counter attacks. Aside the defense of the “Tre Kronor” team played extremely strong with an intermediate man-to-man defense against Macedonian top star Kiril Lazarov and a great cooperation with goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand.

But the Balkan team stood strong, fighting for their last chance for an Olympic ticket after losing against Hungary the day before. Their powerful back court and line players weren’t easy to stop, their goalkeeper Borko Ristovski played better than before in the first half. But the Macedonians could not turn the game before the break – and right at the start of the second half two initial hammers of Kim Andersson hit them really hard, as Sweden was ahead with four goals at this moment (16:12).

The time was running for the host – and the Sjöstrand saves secured a constant four-goal lead which calmed down the enthusiastic Macedonian crowd for some minutes. Searching for the right means to catch-up, Macedonian coach Zvonko Shundovski took his time-out in minute 42 at the score of 15:19, as well-shielded Lazarov at this time had scored only one field goal. The game remained with a high intensity and tension seeing the Macedonians drawing nearer to only two goals ten minutes before the end. But every time the Macedonians were close to turn the game either Sjöstrand saved brilliant or the precise shots of right back Andersson hit the triangle of the goal. A double strike of the left handed top scorer (in total eight goals) paved the Swedish way to London hitting the net to 25:21 five minutes before the end.


Statements after the match:

Staffan Olsson, coach Sweden: “We are absolute happy to have qualified for the Olympic Games. Our defense and goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand did an almost perfect match- I am absolutely satisfied.”

Zvonko Shundovski, coach FYR Macedonia: “We came to Sweden to get a ticket to the Olympics, but we did not have lucky days here, as we are out now. Sweden correctly won this game, as they were the home team supported by a big number of fans.”

Johan Sjöstrand, player Sweden: “Thanks to our great defense we reached our goal.”

Kiril Lazarov, player FYR Macedonia: “Sweden played completely different than yesterday 6 April, when they were very slow. Our team missed the form we had during the European Championships, since then the form went down – despite our huge number of spectators who supported us here in Gothenburg. We can play better and now we have to analyze how to improve in the future. Maybe there was too much Macedonian mentality in us today, so we need to work to become better.”


Friday’s results:

Hungary vs. FYR Macedonia 28:26 (15:13)

Sweden vs. Brazil 25:20 (12:10)

Sunday’s matches:

14:45 hrs local time: FYR Macedonia vs. Brazil

17:00 hrs local time: Sweden vs. Hungary