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Date: 8/9/2016
 

Germany continued their impressive form with a well-earned victory against Poland as round two for Group B of the men’s competition at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad began. The second match of the day ended with Slovenia’s second win, this time against Olympic hosts Brazil, before Egypt recorded a stunning victory versus Sweden to add their first two points on the table. 

At the end of round two Germany and Slovenia top the table with four points from two wins, Egypt and Brazil are each on two, and Sweden and Poland remain on zero. 

Future Arena, Tuesday 9 August
Group B: Germany vs Poland 32:29 (16:14)

A second equal contest was expected in Future Arena when EHF EURO 2016 champions Germany took to the court against Poland, and the European teams delivered on those expectations more effectively than the earlier rematch of the 2015 World Championship final between France and Qatar. While France finished with a much more significant win than expected with a final margin of 15 goals in their favour in Group A, Germany had to work harder for their impressive victory. 

Through the opening minutes the match was equal with Germany maintaining a narrow edge, always scoring first as Poland levelled in response. The European champions created the first two-goal lead of the match in the 11th with a long-range goal from goalkeeper Andreas Wolff, and they held that advantage until Julius Kuhn opened up a three-goal lead at 8:5 midway through the half. 

Poland came back to eventually equalise in the 21st after two consecutive goals from Kamil Syprzak (11:11), and they kept level despite two suspensions – for Adam Wisniewski and Mateusz Kus – until the 25th (14:14). Christian Dissinger received a direct red card but Germany did not allow it to affect their game, creating a narrow advantage by half-time with two late goals from Fabian Wiede. 

Germany finished the half with 80% shooting accuracy for the team overall, only missing four of their chances in that period – and that impressive start would set them up for the strong second half to follow. Five minutes into the second period Germany had created a five-goal lead before Karol Bielecki decreased the deficit to four at 16:20 when Patrick Wiencek was out on a suspension. 

But his team would be kept chasing through the rest of the match – and as the clock ticked on it was clear that Poland were good, but Germany were better. After allowing Poland to come within one at 21:22 in the 43rd courtesy of a breakthrough from Michal Jurecki, Germany claimed control to hold a steady lead through the last quarter of the game.  

At the 50-minute mark they were four in front at 27:23, and as the last five minutes began the score line stayed the same at 30:26. Germany finished with a three-goal win that earns their second set of two points at Rio 2016, while Poland remain on zero after two straight losses. 

Group B: Brazil vs Slovenia 28:31 (13:16)

Though Brazil naturally had the support of the stadium behind them, Slovenia were the first to find the goal through the hosts’ 4-2 system thanks to back Jure Dolonec. It took two minutes for the goal to come, demonstrating the high level of defence played by the Pan American team – and it was that defence that led to Joao Silva intercepting an awry pass made in Slovenia’s attack, scoring a fast break to put the hosts’ first goal on the board. 

Both the teams were well prepared for the other, with Brazil’s defensive system forcing Slovenia’s backs to employ their most creative tactics, while at the other end of the court Brazil had to work hard against their opponents’ 6-0. The European team kept a narrow lead while Brazil chased to equalise in the 10th minute courtesy of Silva (4:4), before Bombac scored a penalty to reclaim a narrow advantage at 5:4. 

Slovenia kept Brazil from scoring for more than six minutes while they added three goals before Fabio Chiuffa scored a penalty that put the score at 5:8 in the 17th. Slovenia coach Veselin Vujovic used his first time-out as the 20-minute mark approached and his team led 10:6, and they continued to retain a clear advantage until Brazil captain Thiagus Santos decreased the deficit to three at 12:15. 

There the gap stayed as the teams went to the changing room for the break, and when the match resumed Slovenia increased their lead further, creating a 22:17 advantage 10 minutes into the period. After Brazil added some long-range goals when Slovenia played without a keeper, Gorazd Skof saved a difficult fast break that kept the score at 23:18 for the European side before Vid Kavticnik converted his work into a goal at the other end. 

Brazil goalkeeper Maik Santos made a great save that kept Slovenia from pulling further in front, but as the European side held a comfortable lead at 26:21, which Brazil seemed unable to crack, the situation looked perilous for the host. It was at that point in the match however, that Brazil suddenly grabbed the momentum to come within three at 24:27 as the clock approached 50 minutes. 

Leonardo Santos took the hosts within two at 26:28 with a fast break into Slovenia’s empty goal, as Vujovic continued with an additional attacker in place of the goalkeeper while Blaz Janc was off on a suspension. But when Kavticnik opened up the three-goal difference again in the 54th (29:26) it was evident Brazil would not have an easy time levelling the score. 

As the clock ticked toward the full-time whistle it became clear that Brazil would not be able to level, even as Chiuffa scored a breakthrough as the last 60 seconds began. With a 31:28 advantage in that moment, Slovenia knew the match was over no matter what happened next. 

Group B: Egypt vs Sweden 26:25 (12:13)  

Sweden opened strong to lead 6:2 after 10 minutes, at which point it seemed as though the Scandinavian would play a comfortable 60 minutes to finish with their first win at Rio 2016. But just after the 15-minute mark Egypt recorded a 3:0 run that turned a 4:7 deficit into a 6:7 score, and suddenly Sweden found themselves in trouble. 

Two consecutive goals for the African side took the score to 8:8 in the 22nd, and from there the game was either level or showing a one-goal advantage for Sweden until half-time, when the Scandinavian team led by one. 

The second period would be much the same, with Egypt taking the lead for the first time on a fast-break goal scored by Yehia Elderaa just over five minutes into the half (16:15) and a level score of 17:17 at the 40-minute mark before Sweden created a temporary difference. Within three minutes Sweden pulled ahead to a 20:17 advantage with a goal from right back Kim Andersson, before Egypt again came chasing. 

When the African team equalised then took the lead at 23:22 with a superb goal from Ahmed Elahmar, Sweden coaches Staffan Olsson and Ola Lindgren called a time-out. The score stayed level as the end of the match approached, at 24:24 with three minutes left as Egypt’s Ibrahim Elmasry received a suspension. 

Egypt goalkeeper Mahmoud Khalil made a crucial save off a Kim Andersson shot before Ali Zein Mohamed scored to take the African side in front inside the last two minutes, but Sweden answered and with 60 seconds left the score stood at 25:25 with Egypt in possession. Sweden were down two players as both Jesper Nielsen and Andersson were off on two-minute suspensions, and Egypt were able to find the goal courtesy of left wing Mohamed Hesham Elbassiouny with eight seconds left to record their first win at Rio 2016. 

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