Last two quarter-final berths to be decided in Group A

02 Aug. 2021

Last two quarter-final berths to be decided in Group A

Running updates of Tokyo 2020 women's Group A – follow the action of the Olympic handball tournament live and stay always up-to-date. The first match between Republic of Korea and Angola ended in a draw, then, the Netherlands defeated Montenegro 30:29 in a continental derby. In the last match of the day, Norway ended their preliminary round campaign perfect with a win against hosts Japan.

We have entered the last round of the group phase of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 women's handball tournament. In Group A, Norway and Netherlands have already booked their quarter-final ticket. Who will join them today? 

Today's matches:

  • 09:00 JST: Republic of Korea vs Angola (31:31)
  • 19:30 JST: Netherlands vs Montenegro (30:29)
  • 21:30 JST: Norway vs Japan (37:25)

23:45 JST On to the quarter-finals

Korea and Angola drew at 31:31 in the first match of the day, a result that took Montenegro through to the quarter-finals. The Montenegrins closed their preliminary round with a 29:30 loss to the Netherlands. Finally, Norway defeated Japan 37:25 — which reconfirmed the Scandinavians perfect run at Tokyo 2020 and meant the hosts are knocked-out from the competition. As a consequence, it's Korea who clinch the last quarter-final berth in Group A.

The women's quarter-finals begin on Wednesday 4 August. Click here for more information.

23:00 JST FINAL WHISTLE Norway vs Japan 37:25

Norway's power was too much for Japan to handle. The hosts say goodbye to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Line player Marit Malm Frafjord was the game's top scorer with six goals.

Norway make it five wins out of five and end the preliminary round at the top of Group A. What a campaign. Simply marvelous.

22:40 JST Two-digit margin for Norway

Into the 46th minute, Norway lead Japan by ten goals, 28:18. Japan's efficiency drops as Katrin Lunde becomes a nightmare with a couple of remarkable interventions.

The hosts' energy starts to drain. They keep fighting but they can't deny their dreams are slowly disappearing.

22:05 JST HALF-TIME Norway vs Japan 16:11

The last 15 minutes were not the best for Japan, with eight turnovers which explains why the Norwegians have taken five more shots than the Asian side and that's how they built a three-goal margin as we reach the break.

Six saves each for Sakura Kametani and Katrine Lunde — both goalkeepers doing a more than decent job.

Japan have no other choice but to play at their 100% in the following 30 minutes, otherwise their Olympic adventure will be over.

21:45 JST All level after the first quarter between Japan and Norway

Japan's Aya Yokoshima sets the equaliser at 5:5 after trailing by three against the Scandinavians. It's a great moment for the hosts, who believe in their potential.

So far, the home side haven't let Nora Mork score. Let's see if they can keep her under control.

21:30 JST Hosts Japan play their last chance versus Norway

There's no margin of error for Japan. They have to defeat Norway, the only unbeaten team at Tokyo 2020, to make the quarter-final stage.

So far the home side have only collected one win, 29:26 versus Montenegro. Norway, on the other side, have picked up 100% of the points in dispute.

With their men's team already knocked-out, Japan's dream of seeing themselves in the knock-out phase depends entirely of winning this match.

21:00 JST FINAL WHISTLE Netherlands vs Montenegro 30:29

A magnificent comeback comes up short for Montenegro. They came back from a nine-goal deficit in the 45th minute to within one goal in the final seconds.

An impressive performance from Jovanka Radicevic — the game's main scorer with eight goals — and goalkeeper Marina Rajcic — she made 13 saves at a 35% rate — kept their hopes alive.

The Netherlands record their fourth victory at the 2020 Olympic Games and place second in Group A.

20:35 JST Netherlands extend the gap to nine goals

Netherlands lead Montenegro 25:16 as we pass the 46 minute mark. Seven turnovers sabotage the Balkan's plan to stay close in the game.

The Dutch rotate their squad in an attempt to reach the final minutes as fresh as they can.

20:05 JST HALF-TIME Netherlands vs Montenegro 17:12

The Netherlands harm Montenegro with their fast breaks. They have scored six goals that way – three of which were finalised by line player Danick Snelder.

Wings Debbie Bont and Majda Mehmedovic are the leading scorers as we reach the break; the Dutch netted four times, while the Montenegrin scored three goals, both at an efficiency of 100%.

19:50 JST An efficient Netherlands lead Montenegro

An 80% effective Dutch side create a four-goal edge into the 17th minute. The score is 11:7.

Using a good first few moments from goalkeeper Tess Wester, they frustrate the Montenegrins, who request a time-out.

19:30 JST Quarter-finalists Montenegro and Netherlands aim to finish the preliminary round on positive note

Earlier today, Montenegro sealed their ticket to the next stage of the 2020 Olympic Games after Angola and Korea split the points. Now they will take on the world champions the Netherlands with a much lighter weight on their shoulders.

The Dutch were one of the first teams to secure a quarter-final berth. A victory today would feed their winning mentality and their ambitious goals at Tokyo 2020.

11:10 JST Time for the maths

This tournament has truly been unbelievable and produced some impressive handball. And, most importantly, plenty of emotions for everybody involved, fans and players alike. Unfortunately, there are still tough moments, like the last shot from Isabel Guialo, who would have seen Angola virtually through to the quarter-finals if it went through. Guialo has scored eight goals in this game and is co-leading the top scorer standings alongside Korea’s Ryu Eun Hee with 30 goals in five games, but could not put her team in the quarter-finals, despite making a superb performance in each and every game of this tournament.

Right now, Group A’s standings are: Norway (8 points), the Netherlands (6 points), Montenegro (4 points), Republic of Korea (3 points, -18 goal difference), Angola (3 points, -26 goal difference), Japan (2 points).

To proceed, Angola need Japan to draw against Norway to create a three-way tie, which they would win at goal difference against Korea (59:56 to 58:55). If Japan lose, then Korea would go through, thanks to the superior goal difference to Angola in the standings. If the hosts win, then they will complete the four-team line-up to proceed to the quarter-finals from Group A.

We’ll take a break from Group A and head over to Group B, where Rio 2016 silver medallists France are playing for their lives against Brazil. Lose this game and they will be out from Tokyo 2020.

10:32 JST FINAL WHISTLE Republic of Korea vs Angola 31:31

What a crazy, crazy final seconds of the game! Isabel Guialo’s one-on-one shot with goalkeeper Hui Ju has been saved by Ju with only one second to go and therefore a 31:31 draw has been recorded between the two sides. Montenegro are through to the quarter-finals, while Angola would be out of the competition if Japan do not draw against Norway later on. Korea are not through yet, needing Japan to lose in the last game of the group.

Angola’s wings, especially right wing Juliana Machado, have been crucial in the closing stages of the games. Korea’s defence focused on Angola’s backs, as Guialo finished the game with eight goals, but could not close the space to Machado, after the backs passed to her, creating the superiority of the seven-on-six attack. The right wing scored twice in the last 10 minutes, stole a ball after the Republic of Korea threw it back into play immediately after conceding and created a two-goal gap, 31:29, with three minutes to go for Angola.

A save from goalkeeper Helena Sousa, her eighth, helped Angola once again and, by that time, it looked like it was game over for the Republic of Korea. In dire need of a draw, who would have seen them improve their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals, Korea defended for their lives and goalkeeper Hui Ju saved a shot from left wing Helena Paulo with 35 seconds to go. Korea tied the game with 11 seconds to go, through Eunhye Kang’s seventh goal of the game, as Ryu takes on almost the entire Angolan defence, but passed the ball to Kang, who duly scored, saving the 31:31 draw for Korea.

It’s been heartbreaking for Angola, who led by two with 90 seconds to go, only for everything to unravel quickly. They are now in destiny’s hands, needing a draw between Japan and Norway to go through, thanks to the larger number of goals scored in a three-way tie between the three games, which would all have three points.

10:11 JST Angola’s energy resources are draining up

This Korean comeback will surely not please Montenegro, who would qualify for the quarter-finals if Angola win or if the two sides draw. Angola’s discipline in defence has really let them down, having already played four minutes in a row shorthanded, as the number of suspensions grew to seven in the last minutes. But Korea have also taken the lead, 24:23, for the first time since the first half, after Ryu Eun Hee started to play better and better, scoring four times in the second half between the 32nd and 42nd minutes.

If beating Japan looked easy in the second half, Angola are looking more and more tired, as the game progresses. Line player Albertina Kassoma, who scored seven goals, was just taking a break on the sidelines, lying on the floor and getting some cold air in. It could be from their win two days ago against Japan, where they ran a lot, but also this Korean side is relentless and will never give up. The pace is still high, but as the time passes, the room for mistake is smaller and smaller. And playing shorthanded for most of the second half did not help. Right now, with 10 minutes to go, Angola are still leading by one goal, 27:26.

10:01 JST Anybody’s game, with a quarter-finals berth up for grabs

Playing seven-on-six in attack really lifted Angola two days ago to beat Japan and it is also crucial in attack for the African side against another Asian opponent, the Republic of Korea, today. If it were not for this change in attack, Angola would probably not have stood a chance, being overwhelmed by the dazzling Korean side. But this is by far not an easy game for the African champions, who are constantly getting two-minute suspensions for failing to stop the Korean side properly in defence. It’s been four suspensions already, so Angola have played eight minutes shorthanded.

In attack, there’s been a change with Guialo featuring more properly, now tying Jovanka Radicevic at the top of the goal scorer standings, with 28 goals. What a game this is shaping up to be and, despite on their shortcomings, Angola are still going strong, boasting a one-goal advantage, 21:20, with 20 minutes to go.

09:37 JST HALF-TIME Republic of Korea vs Angola 16:17

The pace of this game is really uncanny. There have been 22 turnovers, 11 each for the Republic of Korea and Angola, but this not deter the two attacks, who combined for 33 goals in the first half. After a slow start, which saw them down 3:6, Angola truly bounced back in emphatic fashion and have been, by large, the better team in attack, who also got some stops in defence. However, the game is still nip and tuck, as the Korean side got back to only one goal, 16:17, after 30 minutes.

It's a shrewd tactic for Angola, pouncing on their physicality against the Korean defence, seemingly unable to defend a strong line player like Albertina Kassoma. It worked for the game against Japan and it is also working now, with Kassoma scoring five goals. Angolan top scorer in this tournament Isabel Guialo has also added four goals, jumping to the fifth place in the goal scorer standings, with 26 goals at Tokyo 2020. For Korea, though, top scorers Ryu Eun Hee and Migyeong Lee have combined for only three goals, as the Asian side relied heavily on other players, like Yura Jung, who scored five times.

The second half will answer many questions, but, basically, the winner of this game makes a big step towards the quarter-finals. If Angola win, they still need Japan not to win against Norway to pull through. Let’s see what happens in the second half – if one thing is for sure it is that there will be goals, goals, goals!

09:23 JST Angola are getting unstoppable in attack

A win would see the Republic of Korea through irrespective of what happens in the next games and they know that. But in only one minute and 50 seconds, everything that Korea built was cancelled by Angola’s attack, with Isabel Guialo and two goals from Natalia Santos spearheading a 4:0 run that turned the game on its head. Like in the game against Japan, the Korean side is getting frustrated with Angola’s physicality, especially failing to stop strong line player Albertina Kassoma.

And Angola keep pouncing. They are rather aggressive, substituting the goalkeeper for an outfield player in each attack. With Guialo’s form getting hotter and hotter – she scored three goals already – the Angolan side are taking a 12:9 lead after 20 minutes and are on track for their second win in two games, getting closer to tying their best-ever performance at the Olympic Games, achieved at Rio 2016 when they reached the quarter-finals.

09:13 JST Fast start for Korea

This will be nip and tuck, as the two sides trade early blows. Yet it’s back Yura Jung who is currently stealing the show for the Republic of Korea, not their top scorer, Ryu Eun Hee. Jung has scored three times, as many times as the Angolan side in the first 10 minutes. Surprisingly, the Korean defence stood their ground superbly, getting better and better from game to game. They truly need a special performance today and, for the most part of the first half, they just did that.

It's 6:3 for the Korean side, after Angola turned the ball over four times, being too clumsy with the ball. At this score, Korea could make huge strides for progressing to the best eight teams in the tournament for the ninth time in history. At Rio 2016, they did not progress from the group stage, finishing 10th.

09:00 JST Final day throws off with pivotal game

It’s been a great first nine days of handball at Tokyo 2020, but the group phase of the handball tournament of this edition of the Olympic Games will be over today. After the men’s tournament group phase finished yesterday, it’s time for the women’s tournament to send its eight best teams to the quarter-finals.

First up? The Republic of Korea and Angola for a pivotal game, which could send one team further. Only the win will help, therefore expect a highly contested game.

08:45 JST Last preliminary round day about to throw off

The last nine days have been truly fascinating in the handball’s tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but the competition is reaching its business end both in the men’s and in the women’s competitions. 

The final day of the group phase is upon us and it’s time for eight women's teams to progress to the quarter-finals, after the men’s tournament has already set up its first round of the knock-out phase.

In Group A, Norway and the Netherlands are the only two teams who have already progressed to the quarter-finals, with Norway securing their first place in the group after sweeping their opponents.

Everything gets murkier after this, with the second place being disputed by reigning world champions the Netherlands and Montenegro, in a face-to-face clash between the two European sides. However, Montenegro can finish second or can fail to qualify, such is the crazy nature of this group.

The Montenegrin side would have assured their place in the quarter-finals with a three-goal win against the Republic of Korea, but the 28:26 win meant that there is still a scenario where Bojana Popovic’s side is out of contention for a medal.

The group will throw off with a decisive clash, as the Republic of Korea face Angola, with the winner making a big step towards the quarter-finals, but nothing will be set in stone before hosts Japan finish the group phase against Norway at 21:30 JST.

What they need to qualify:

  • Norway: already through to the quarter-finals
  • Netherlands: already through to the quarter-finals
  • Montenegro: do not lose against the Netherlands / lose against the Netherlands AND Japan do not win against Norway
  • Japan: win against Norway AND Montenegro lose against the Netherlands AND Korea beat Angola
  • Republic of Korea: win against Angola / draw against Angola AND Japan lose against Norway 
  • Angola: win against Korea AND Japan do not win against Norway

You can find out more about Group A by clicking here. 

All the latest info regarding statistics and standings can be found on our page dedicated to the women's handball tournament at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.