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Date: 2/1/2015

The bronze medal at the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship belongs to Poland, who pulled off a strong win in extra time after a fast game characterised by expert wing shots and fast counter attacks. 

Poland-Spain 29:28 (24:24)(13:13)

Both sides had a nervous start in attack, but Poland were the first to take the lead thanks to goals from both wings, putting them ahead 3:0 just over five minutes in. 

Spain coach Manuel Cadenas took no chances in letting the Polish run continue, calling a time-out that finally led to Spain’s first goal in the eighth minute – an Albert Rocas fast break. 

Poland responded immediately and Spain made some changes in attack, but the Polish onslaught continued. 

A top-corner rocket from Karol Bielecki took Poland to a four-goal lead in the 11th minute (6:2), while goalkeeper Slawomir Szmal made big saves on Spanish counter attacks.

Spain slowly closed the score line to two by midway through the half (7:5) with an almost completely different side from the seven that started on the field. 

Spain’s more active defence and a couple of quick goals from Victor Tomas put them in touch, and they trailed by just one (10:9) after a Valero Rivera penalty goal at the 20 minute mark. 

The momentum was increasingly behind Spain, who equalised in the 23rd minute (11:11) to begin the tight battle to the final whistle that followed. 

The score line was level at the end of the first period, but when the match resumed, it belonged to Spain. Despite the game now being a one-for-one shooting contest, Spain were looking far stronger than they had earlier in the match. 

Michal Jurecki was temporarily marked out by Victor Tomas, which created a problem for the Poles in attack as they missed their highest-scoring back.  

Spain capitalised on every chance to earn a two-goal advantage (18:20) as the match moved into its last fifteen minutes. 

They retained the lead with five minutes left (20:22), while Poland played calm attack in an attempt to close the gap – which they did. 

As the last minute began, Spain were ahead by one (23:24) and had possession. 

But the 2013 World Champions missed their chance to seal the victory, Poland’s Michal Szyba (eight goals and the adidas Man of the Match) levelled the score with thunderous cheers behind him, and the match went into extra time. 

Both sides looked dangerous and determined when extra time began, and it appeared as though a tense ten minutes were ahead. 

Poland scored first to take the lead, but tough defence from both sides had them drawn at the end of the first five minutes (26:26). 

The teams kept their cool despite what was at stake, remaining level with one minute of overtime left (28:28). 

When Kamil Syprzak scored with 30 seconds on the clock, Spain were suddenly in big trouble. 

Spain rushed to the other end in attack, but it was too late. Poland took the one-goal win and the bronze medal along with it.