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(E) CROATIA 34-ICELAND 30 in Handball - Olympics 2004
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/14/2004 | Sports | Unrated
(E) CROATIA 34-ICELAND 30 in Handball - Olympics 2004



14 Aug. 2004

ATHENS, 14 August - World champions Croatia defeated Iceland in their opening game in the Olympic tournament 34-30 (halftime 16-12).
Croatia was superior to Iceland throughout the greater part of the match but for the first 20 minutes of the game both teams were very close.
Croatia started to widen the gap using their strong defence, good offensive combinations and taking advantage of any mistakes that Iceland would make.Igor VORI (CRO) played an exceptional game today, offering critical help to his team by scoring 6 goals and playing hard defence.
Croatian line player Ivano BALIC organized the offence and made the play for his team.
Iceland showed that it has a strong team, pushing Croatia all the way. The best player of the match, Olaf STEFANSSON, caused many problems to the Croatian defence, forcing the Croatian coach to change his zone defence and to play him man-to-man.
At the 34 minute mark HALLGRIMSSON Asgeir Om was expelled from the game due to hard play.

ATHENS, 14 August - Comments from the coaches, Lino CERVAR (CRO) and Gudmundur GUDMUNDSSON (ISL).

Lino CERVAR (CRO) – Coach

On the match:
"My team played well and at certain times I think we played exciting handball. On the other hand there were some points where we faced difficulties with our offence."
On his team's defence:
"I believe we executed the 3-2-1 defence really well. By using this kind of defence we found our rhythm and we won a game against a tough team, who I want to congratulate."
Gudmundur GUDMUNDSSON (ISL) – Coach
On the game against Croatia:
"We played against one of the best teams in the whole world. I’m satisfied with the way we played. Our defence stood up to their strong offence. Eventually we made a lot of critical mistakes and we could not take our chances."
On the problem concerning the two minute suspensions:
"In this game we had to play a lot times with 4 against 6 or 5 against 6. This was the point where we could not keep up our offence and as a result the Croatians scored too many goals on fast breaks. They had 14 fast breaks and this is a number that we cannot overcome."


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