Tokyo 2020 women's medallists to be determined
08 Aug. 2021
Running updates of the Tokyo 2020 women's finals – follow the action of the Olympic handball tournament live and stay always up-to-date. The Tokyo 2020 women's medallists are determined: France claim gold, ROC silver and Norway bronze.
It's the final day of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 women's handball tournament and in another Rio 2016 final rematch, we'll find out if ROC will be able to defend their title or if France can get their revenge.
- 11:00 JST: Bronze-medal match Norway vs Sweden (36:19)
- 15:00 JST: Gold-medal match ROC vs France (25:30)
17:20 JST Summary of the day
After 16 days of drama, surprises and action-packed games on the court of the Yoyogi National Stadium, the Olympic handball tournaments draw to a close, with France winning the gold medal both in the men’s and in the women’s tournaments. We really hope you enjoyed the live coverage and we’ll be back with more handball in the next months.
- For the first time in history, France won the women’s tournament after a dominating performance against the ROC, 30:25
- France became only the third side to complete the Olympic Games – IHF Women’s World Championship – EHF EURO treble after Denmark and Norway
- In the space of four years, France became world champions (2017), European champions (2018) and Olympic champions at Tokyo 2020
- Line player Pauletta Foppa scored seven goals, as many as Alisson Pineau, to lift the French side to the gold medal
- With their wins in both the men’s and women’s tournaments in the same edition of the Olympic Games, France follow the Soviet Union (Montreal 1976) and Yugoslavia (Los Angeles 1984)
- Norwegian right back Nora Mork became the top scorer of the tournament, with 52 goals, six more than Montenegro’s right wing, Jovanka Radicevic
16:55 JST Unprecedented feature for Mork
For the second time in a row, Nora Mork is the top scorer of the Olympic tournament, with 52 goals, after securing the title five years ago at Rio 2016, with 62 goals. It is the first time that a player retains this individual title at the Olympic Games, a testament to how great a scorer Mork is, despite failing to win a gold medal in the competition.
The Norwegian right back scored six more goals than Montenegro’s Jovanka Radicevic, playing two more games, while the third place was secured by ROC’s right back, Anna Vyakhireva. Incidentally, the top three goal scorers at Tokyo 2020 are left handed.
France’s top scorer was line player Pauletta Foppa, with 34 goals, followed by Grace Zaadi, 33 goals, and Alisson Pineau, with 31 goals. It was another team display, rather than individual brilliance, which helped France secure the gold medal.
In the goalkeepers’ standings, Katrine Lunde stole the show, with a 38% saving efficiency, followed by Japan’s Minami Itano (37%) and Silje Solberg (36%). The largest number of saves, 62, was registered by Solberg. France’s Cleopatre Darleux (33% saving efficiency with 43 saves) and Amandine Leynaud (30% with 50 saves) placed fifth and eighth.
16:50 JST France, champions of modern handball
It’s also the third time that a country delivers wins in both the men’s and women’s handball tournaments at the Olympic Games. It first happened in the first edition of the women’s tournament, at Montreal 1976, when the Soviet Union swept the gold medals, then at Los Angeles 1984, when Yugoslavia secured the wins in emphatic fashion. But such an achievement in modern times is unprecedented, underlining the hard work done by France to clinch the Olympic titles.
France have also been a dominant force in the last decades, with the men’s side securing three Olympic gold medals, five IHF Men’s World Championship titles and three EHF EURO titles in the last 20 years, as the women’s side also won all the three major tournaments in the space of only four years.
The men’s team conceded only one loss, while the women’s side had two losses and a draw, but eventually what matters is peaking at the right moment and France did just that. It’s the second time that a team wins gold in the women’s tournament with five wins, a draw and two losses after London 2012, when Norway were the winners.
16:40 JST France complete historic treble
France wrote history in that game and became only the third-ever European team to complete the treble of Olympic Games, IHF Women’s World Championship and Women's EHF EURO. Denmark was the first to do it, with wins at Atlanta 1996, the 1997 IHF Women’s World Championship and the EHF EURO 1994, while Norway secured the achievement in 2008, after wins at Beijing 2008, the 1999 IHF Women’s World Championship and the EHF EURO 1998.
In the space of only four years, France have secured this treble. First, they won the IHF Women’s World Championship in 2017, followed by the EHF EURO 2018 win on home soil, in Paris, while the Olympic title came four years later, at Tokyo 2020. Eight of the 15 players France had in their roster at Tokyo 2020 completed the treble: goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, backs Grace Zaadi, Laura Flippes, Estelle Nze Minko, Alexandra Lacrabere and Kalidiatou Niakate and defensive specialist Beatrice Edwige.
16:27 JST FINAL WHISTLE ROC vs France 25:30
It’s over now and France are gold medalists at the Olympic Games for the first time ever! The French side rode two 3:0 unanswered runs and another 6:0 run in the second half to seal the win in the Tokyo 2020 final, 30:25, against the ROC.
It was a long time coming for coach Olivier Krumbholz, who led France for the sixth time at the Olympic Games, having previously won the silver medal at Rio 2016. And the French ace, who has been all smiles during this game, sees his career complete, after sealing wins at the IHF Women’s World Championship in 2017 and the EHF EURO in 2018. In just four years, with a superb generation, France have dominated women’s handball, while taking also silver at the EHF EURO 2020 and the third place at the EHF EURO 2016.
Krumbholz was the long-standing coach for France between 1998 and 2013, but stepped down only to make his comeback in 2016 and it was the perfect decision, as his tactical nous and no-nonsense approach worked wonders. Turning a young side into an Olympic champions is, probably, his most exciting performance up to date and the style in which France sealed this gold medal was also emphatic.
The French side won only once in the first three games, faced a do-or-die game against Brazil in the last round of the group phase, but something changed in the knock-out phase. They were truly superb against the Netherlands (32:22) in the quarter-finals, Sweden (29:27) in the semi-finals, everything culminating with the flawless performance they displayed against the ROC in the final.
Right wing turned right back Laura Flippes was superb, getting penalty after penalty, line player Pauletta Foppa dished an amazing game at only 20 years old, while Cleopatre Darleux was magnificent in the goal, saving nine shots for a 45% efficiency, while only playing in the second half. It was a magnificent win, created by a superb team, whose defence-first mentality created an all-time great performance. But credit also for the attack, as Krumbholz switched from the slow game that plagued France in the last years, to a more exciting style that brought them the gold medal. It was also the largest number of goals scored by a team in the final since Beijing 2008, when Norway scored 34 goals to beat Russia.
16:16 JST Amazing performances from Darleux and Foppa
History is in the making here, with France having already sealed the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 in the men’s tournament. A country has not won both tournaments in an Olympic Games edition since 1984, when Yugoslavia sealed the titles. The Soviet Union also achieved this feature in 1976, when both their teams secured the gold medal in Montreal. And it is getting closer and closer.
Cleopatre Darleux has been absolutely immense in this second half, racking up saves left and right. She has now saved eight shots, three more than the ROC goalkeepers throughout the whole game. In fact, France had two superb individual performances in this game – Darleux’s and the one from Pauletta Foppa. At only 20 years old, the line player scored seven goals from seven shots. It is not the best performance ever in a final, with Korea’s Lim and Denmark’s Katrine Fruelund scoring 15 goals at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, but it surely is Foppa’s top game in her career. France are cruising now, 25:20, with eight minutes to go.
16:10 JST 6:0 run lifts France closer to gold medal
This is starting to morph into a serious rout from France. The ROC looked to be on the up in the start of the second half, only to collapse entirely. The aforementioned 3:0 run turned into a 6:0 run for France, that prevented the ROC to score for more than seven minutes. Alexey Alekseev called a time-out, but it might have been too little, too late for the ROC side. This has been vintage France, their best game at Tokyo 2020 and it is also thanks to Cleopatre Darleux, who saved six of the nine shots she faced in the second half to lift her side to a 22:16 lead.
As the ROC finally score, Meline Nocandy puts another goal into the ROC’s net to preserve the six-goal lead. This will be one of the best moments of French handball. Now, France must only keep up the pace for 13 minutes.
16:05 JST Momentum shift for France
While the ROC defence might be much improved compared to the first half, it is still France who are not finding the right balance between shooting and passing, exposing themselves to turnovers. But when right back Oceane Sercien-Ugolin takes one the court, she scored two consecutive goals to shift the momentum back to France. This is exactly what France needed, a strong presence from their backcourt, which was lacking before, as the ROC defence committed to stop all the passes between the backs and the line player.
Another 3:0 run, their third in the game, brings France back into the lead, 19:16, and right now the ROC team simply cannot score. Anna Vyakhireva scored only two goals from five shots, added three other turnovers and she simply has been a non-factor matching against a strong France defence. If she does not perform at the highest level, the ROC stand no chance today, plain and simple.
15:59 JST Three goals scored in the first eight minutes
Krumbholz makes a change at half-time, replacing Amandine Leynaud with Cleopatre Darleux between the goalposts. And the change works wonders, with Darleux saving three of the four shots she faced. However, France are trying to change what they are and play fast-paced handball in attack and the turnovers are piling in this second half, while Laura Flippes missed a one-on-one shot with Sedoykina. It’s also a testament to the ROC playing better defence, but, right now, the game is quite inconclusive for both sides.
A suspension for Polina Kuznetsova, her second in the game, should hamper the ROC side, only for the reigning Olympic champions to continue to defend well, navigating through that two-minute period with a 1:0 run, failing to concede a goal. This could prove crucial, as France are still boasting a 16:15 lead after 38 minutes.
15:36 JST HALF-TIME ROC vs France 13:15
Two teams with different styles are measuring up here at the final of the Tokyo 2020 women’s handball tournament. While the ROC, the reigning Olympic champions, are heavily relying on their backs, France are banking more on their wings and their superb line player, Pauletta Foppa, who is really having one of her best games in her career here. Aged 20, Foppa has scored five goals in the first half and has been an alternative to the French backs, whom the ROC defence are trying to block.
Both ROC and France are boasting 68% shooting efficiency, but it has been France who looked more composed and prepared for this game. Their defence has been outstanding here, getting stop after stop when they needed them the most. The ROC wings and line players have been a non-factor up until this point, with 12 of the 13 goals having been scored by backs. And it’s not Anna Vyakhireva who is leading the charge, but Polina Vedekhina, one of the most underrated left backs in the competition, who scored five times.
Daria Dmitrieva added four goals, bailing out the ROC team in crucial moments, but this feels like it is France game to lose. Of course, France were also leading by two goals at the break, 17:15, nine days ago, with the ROC bouncing back and sealing the win in the group phase. Yes, it could happen once again and France are susceptible of powering off in attack, but at this pace, the ROC will need much more from their side on both sides of the goal to seal another gold medal.
15:23 JST France dictate the rhythm
Cheered on by their counterparts from the men’s side, who secured the gold medal yesterday in the final against Denmark, France take back the lead, 9:7, after a pair of goals scored by left wing Chloe Valentini, the first on a rebound and the second one via a fast break. The ROC team have stayed close to France in the first 15 minutes, but they are struggling to get clean shots against Leynaud, with goalkeeper Anna Sedoykina keeping them in the game. Sedoykina saved two shots in a row, but those were not converted by the Russian attack, therefore France have the advantage.
Foppa has already scored three times, a wild-card in attack that is very difficult to defend against. But do not count out the ROC team, as Anna Vyakhireva still has a trick or two upon her sleeve. Dribbling, creating chances is her forte and she is doing just that. However, France are experienced and have a motivated goalkeeper in Amandine Leynaud, who just saved an empty-goal shot by risking an injury. France are leading, 11:9, with eight minutes to go in the first half and are looking for their first gold medal.
15:15 JST France bounce back by converting penalties
With Leynaud starting to get into form, by saving three shots, France take advantage and open a 4:0 run to take the lead for the first time. And it was, again, their defence who was responsible for this turnaround, preventing the ROC team to score for seven minutes and 35 seconds. Up until this point, ROC have only scored with their backs. But it’s also defence which should concern the reigning Olympic champions, which are conceding penalties like candy on Halloween. There have already been four, three of which were drawn by right back Laura Flippes. Pineau has converted three of those four.
The ROC cut the gap to only one goal, 6:5, after 14 minutes, after Ekaterina Ilina draws first blood through a penalty. Vedekhina scored twice, while Ilina, Vyakhireva and Dmitrieva each scored a goal. It’s nip and tuck this game, exactly what we expected from the two sides. This will be a long final.
15:07 JST ROC’s backs power their team into the lead
Lively start for the ROC. Like five years ago, the Russian side are boasting a 3:1 lead after four minutes and it’s been their back line who is shouldering the expectations. Left back Polina Vedekhina scored through two powerful shots, while Anna Vyakhireva converted a fast break, as French goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud did not stand a chance to stop those shots. At the other end, France have trouble scoring and Alisson Pineau’s missed penalty, stopped by Viktoriia Kalinina, did not help at all.
It is a battle of the two defences, both very strong and capable to stop their opponents. It will be interesting to see how line player Pauletta Foppa will cope with the ROC’s defence, as she has been one of the best on this position at Tokyo 2020. She has already scored once, but the ROC are still leading, 3:2, after seven minutes.
14:40 JST A rematch of ROC’s win nine days ago
Only 20 minutes before the throw-off and the nerves are starting to get high. Years of preparation culminating into one game for the 14-player line-ups for France and the ROC. The last game between these two sides prior to Tokyo 2020 has been a 28:28 draw at the EHF EURO 2020, the first-ever draw in a match featuring the ROC and France. But they also met here, in the group phase, where the Russian side took a 28:27 win. There seems to be a pattern of tight matches between the two sides, therefore we expect more of the same here, as France won 11 of the 18 mutual matches.
Nine days ago, the ROC took a 28:27 win, after France had a 17:15 lead at the break. Ekaterina Ilina and Alisson Pineau, the designated penalty takers for the two sides, each scored nine goals, with France’s Laura Flippes adding six and the ROC’s Anna Vyakhireva five goals. While there might have been 55 goals, it was still a tight game, with only 23 goals scored in the second half. Therefore, like in the men’s final yesterday, it should be another defence-first game.
14:15 JST A look at the medal tables
Only six teams have won the gold medal in the Olympic women’s handball tournament, with Denmark still holding the lead, with three consecutive wins at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. Norway, the Republic of Korea and the Soviet Union follow up with two gold medals, while Russia and Yugoslavia have one gold medal each.
14 teams won medals in history and, right now, France are on the ninth place in the all-time medal table, boasting the silver medal they won at Rio 2016. With a win today, France would jump to the fifth place, tying Russia and Yugoslavia, who both have a gold and a silver medal each. Provided that Russia win, they would still be fifth, with two gold medals, as the fourth-placed Soviet Union also had a bronze medal.
After winning their third bronze medal earlier, Norway are still third – taking the first place in the all-time medal table by numbers, with seven – but still behind Korea, who won the silver three times, as opposed to Norway’s only two silver medals.
14:00 JST How the two teams measure up
Back in the present now and it’s time to see how these two teams measure up. These are not the best attacks in the competition, with those spots reserved for Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, yet these are still two potent teams. ROC have scored 207 goals in their first seven games, or an average of 29.5 goals per game, having scored seven goals more than France in the build-up to this final. While the goals scored from wings and from the nine-metre line are more or less balanced between the two teams, the interesting disparity comes in goals scored via breakthroughs. The ROC scored 38 goals, as opposed to France’s 21. It’s a testament to how potent and versatile the Russian back line is, boasting superb numbers, especially from Vyakhireva and Dmitrieva, their main weapons here.
The two teams also boast the highest number of steals after seven games – France have 30, the ROC have 26, but France must take better care of the ball, turning it over 88 times, with the ROC having 79 turnovers. The goalkeepers are also pretty equal, with France boasting a 31% saving efficiency (81 saves from 265 shots), as opposed to ROC’s 28% (78 saves from 279 shots faced). France must pay attention to Vyakhireva, the Rio 2016 MVP, who scored 39 goals and dished 29 assists, while they also hope to have Grace Zaadi in fine form, as the centre back scored 31 goals and had 25 assists throughout Tokyo 2020.
13:55 JST Throwback to Rio 2016’s final
So it’s down to this: 60 minutes for a gold medal, with two teams that know each other well fighting for the win. It is a rematch of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 final, which the ROC won 22:19, thanks to a superb defensive performance against the French side, which went down early and could never get their game going. The reigning Olympic champions used two 3:0 runs to create a 10:7 gap at half-time, with France never recovering, failing to cut the gap to less than two goals. Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva combined for nine goals, as both attacks were lacking the firepower needed for such a game. While the ROC team had a 51% attacking efficiency, France could not muster more than 46%, a percentage which will definitely need improvement in this game if they are to avenge that defeat.
Coach Olivier Krumbholz, who is at his sixth Olympic Games edition, brought back five players from that French team – goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, backs Alisson Pineau, Grace Zaadi and Estelle Nze Minko and line player Beatrice Edwige. On the other side, coach Evgenii Trefilov is now acting as an advisor for Alexey Alekseev, with seven players making their comeback – goalkeeper Viktoriia Kalinina, backs Daria Dmitrieva, Anna Sen, Anna Vyakhireva, Vladlena Bobrovnikova and Ekaterina Ilina and wing Polina Kuznetsova. Former Olympic champion, back Olga Akopian, is the assistant coach for the ROC side.
13:10 JST Goals galore at Tokyo 2020
Before heading to the final game of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 handball tournaments, men’s and women’s, we take a moment to ask just how spectacular the 75 games played until this moment in the two competitions were? In the women’s tournament, 2,121 goals were scored in the 37 games played until this moment, for an average of 57.32 goals per game. It’s a huge uptick from Rio 2016, where the average number of goals scored per match was 52.05, a rise of nearly 5.5 goals per game. In fact, this is only the second time when over 2,000 goals were scored in the women’s tournament after Beijing 2008, which provided 2,142 goals, but that tournament featured 42 matches.
The men’s tournament saw 2,204 goals scored in 38 matches, or an average of exactly 58 goals scored per game, also a record for the largest number of goals for an Olympic tournament. It is also a big improvement compared to the highest-scoring Olympic tournament, 54.76 goals per game at Rio 2016, which clearly underlines the direction handball is taking now.
We’ll take a short break, but we will be back with the big final of the Olympic women’s handball tournament, ROC vs France, the last game in Yoyogi National Stadium at Tokyo 2020.
12:45 JST Mork serious contender for second straight Olympic top scorer award
After scoring 62 goals at Rio 2016, the best-ever individual performance for a player ever at the Olympic Games, Nora Mork produced another good tournament at Tokyo 2020, with 52 goals in eight games. The right back is currently leading the top scorer standings, with six goals more than Montenegrin right wing Jovanka Radicevic. The next players who can still leapfrog Mork are ROC’s Anna Vyakhireva (39 goals), Ekaterina Ilina (33 goals) and France’s Grace Zaadi (32 goals), but they will need otherworldly performances in the final to hamper Mork’s challenge to become the first-ever player to win back-to-back top scorer titles at the Olympic Games.
For Norway, a bronze medal and the top scorer award for Mork might be little, but these achievements will surely motivate the Scandinavian side before the IHF Women’s World Championship, set to be played in Spain in December.
12:35 JST Fourth Olympic medal for Lunde and Frafjord
Some important milestones were hit by Norway after this impressive win, the largest ever in the knock-out phase of the Olympic Games. They are the first team to record 40 wins in the competition, four more than second-placed the Republic of Korea, and they are also the first side in history to win seven medals at the Olympic Games – two gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals. In fact, in eight Olympic Games editions they took part in, Norway have failed to seal a medal only once, at Atlanta 1996, when they finished fourth.
It’s a superb history and these players are thoroughly deserving of praise. Katrine Lunde and Marit Malm Frafjord just secured their fourth Olympic medal – two gold and two bronze – while Camilla Herrem had her third, missing at Rio 2016. It’s an impressive tally both for these players and for Norway as a team, as they finish Tokyo 2020 with an outstanding record – seven wins and one loss, with the only blip on the radar coming, unfortunately for Norway, in a do-or-die game against the ROC.
12:25 JST FINAL WHISTLE Norway vs Sweden 36:19
After the most lop-sided bronze-medal game in the history of the women’s handball Olympic tournament, Norway seal a 36:19 win against Sweden to secure their third bronze medal in the competition.
Despite this game looking balanced before the throw off, it was another procession for the Norwegian side, who had already cruised to wins against Sweden in the past five years. It was a 33:20 drubbing in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016 which started the trend, followed by a 38:29 win in the 5/6 Placement Match at the EHF EURO 2018, just before this game, which produced the biggest-ever difference in the bronze-medal game at the Olympic Games, after Norway set the record five years ago, with a 36:26 win against the Netherlands.
It was all Norway, from start to finish, with Thorir Hergeirsson’s side rising to the occasion and clinching an impressive win, after a flawless outing. Nora Mork and Kari Brattset Dale each scored eight times for Norway, while goalkeeper Silje Solberg added 14 saves for a superb 44% saving efficiency to help the Norwegian side secure their seventh medal at the Olympic Games – the largest ever tally in thie history of the competition. This was also the biggest difference registered in a knock-out match in the history of the Olympic Games, beating the previous record of 14 goals set by Korea against Hungary at Atlanta 1996. Norway also tied the record of goals scored by a single team in a bronze-medal game, set by themselves five years ago at Rio 2016, in the 36:26 win against the Netherlands.
12:15 JST History in the making at Tokyo 2020, once again
Norway are cruising to their 40th win in history at the Olympic Games and there is nothing that is going to stop them. This will probably be Norway’s biggest win in the competition since the 33:20 quarter-final win against… Sweden at Rio 2016, when the scenario was pretty much the same. Sweden are not relying on Jamina Roberts in these last minutes, as the back, who has been their best scorer throughout the tournament, hobbled off the court with an injury.
Nothing seems to work for Sweden, not even the seven-on-six attack, which should have given them an edge. It did not and Norway extended their lead to 17 goals, 32:15 with 10 minutes to go, a margin which could be historic for the Olympic Games. The biggest ever win margin in a knock-out game in the competition was 14 goals, after a 39:25 win for the Republic of Korea against Hungary, in the semi-finals at Atlanta 1996.
12:02 JST Same Norway, same Sweden
Sweden are totally running out of steam in attack, hitting their 10th goal in the game after 36 minutes. By that time, Norway had already scored 23, so it’s basically game over. Sweden do not have ideas, hitting unprepared shots and squandering easy chances in one-on-one situations with Solberg, who has been immense in this game. Norway have also been very good in attack, thriving with the spaces left by the Swedish side in defence taking advantage time and time again via their backs or with superb passes for line player Kari Dale. The gap is now 14 goals, 25:11, with 20 minutes to go.
Norway are still not pushing the medal to the metal, but Nora Mork is cruising, already scoring seven goals to take her tally to 51 goals in the competition. She is now boasting a 12-goal advantage over ROC’s Anna Vyakhireva, who will feature in the final against France at 15:00 JST. It will be a tough ask for the Russian right back, as Mork prepares to be the top scorer of the Olympic Games for the second time in a row.
11:37 JST HALF-TIME Norway vs Sweden 19:7
Two steals in a period of 30 seconds for Norway’s left wing Camilla Herrem, with the latter stopping a Nathalie Hagman fast break, are a perfect summary for this game, where Norway have thoroughly dominated the game. They have been on fire early and did not stop in the first half, as Sweden never looked like standing a chance in this game. The Norwegian powerhouse had only three turnovers, missed only six shots, while goalkeeper Silje Solberg delivered a masterpiece, saving seven shots for an overwhelming 50% saving efficiency.
On the other side of the court, Mork scored five goals, to inch closer to the 50-goal mark at Tokyo 2020, leading the way for Norway, which has also been helped by Kari Dale, with four goals, and Camilla Herrem, with three goals. Therefore, it is no surprise that Sweden are down 12 goals, 7:19, as this game could be the most lop-sided bronze-medal game in the women’s Olympic handball tournament ever. The record is also held by Norway, who secured the bronze medal at Rio 2016 with a 36:26 win against the Netherlands.
For Sweden, their top scorers Jamina Roberts and Carin Strömberg have combined for only three goals from nine shots, as their rut continues, after being stopped in their tracks in the semi-final against France. This has been a learning experience for Sweden, but they will likely want to put a stop to the gap ballooning, as Norway show little signs of slowing down.
11:27 JST Norway are marching to the win
Second time-out in the space of six minutes for Sweden’s coach, Tomas Axner, as the gap in efficiency (75% for Norway and 36% for Sweden) proves to be decisive in the start of the game. Can Sweden dug themselves out of this hole? This game brings vibes from the 5/6 Placement Match at the EHF EURO 2018, when Norway took a convincing 38:29 win against Sweden after a disappointing tournament, which they ended on a high.
Sweden’s defence, who has been pretty good throughout the tournament, is totally overwhelmed here, as Norway are constantly finding good looks for good shots here. Despite Axner’s two time-outs, the opponents are still pouncing here, as Sweden are probably having their worst outing at Tokyo 2020. They have already lost two games, against Hungary and France, but at least they were in contention throughout the game. This looks like a procession for Norway, who are leading 15:6, opening a 7:1 run where Mork scored four goals.
11:20 JST Three goals for Mork, who leapfrogs Radicevic to top goal scorer standings
Nora Mork scored goal number one in this game and her 45th at Tokyo 2020, coming within only one goal of Jovanka Radicevic’s first place in the top scorer standings. Mork would be the top scorer of the Olympic Games for the second edition in a row, provided she leapfrogs Radicevic and maintain the advantage she has over ROC’s Anna Vyakhireva, who scored 39 goals prior to the final against France. She added her second and was tied with Radicevic for the top place, with 46 goals each.
Norway are keeping their advantage and seem to be the better team here, despite Sweden playing for their first-ever medal at the Olympic Games. The Swedish side cannot win in a shoot-out, which how the game pans out to be right now. Two consecutive lobs fail to hit the target, after Blohm and Jenny Carlsson fail to score and Mork, with her 47th goal in the tournament, makes it 11:5 after 17 minutes.
11:10 JST Norway find joy in playing the bronze-medal game
Sweden’s style suits Norway better than their previous opponents, Hungary and the ROC, whom they struggled heavily against. The Scandinavian powerhouse scored five time in five minutes against Sweden and this could be a long game for the Swedish defence, who has been leaking goals left and right. Norway’s wings have been stronger from the start than in the semi-final, scoring their first two goals in the space of two minutes, but, overall, Thorir Hergeirsson’s side have been just efficient in front of goal, scoring through five different players, including goalkeeper Silje Solberg.
On the other side, Sweden have relied heavily on their strong line player, Linn Blohm, who scored twice, but they have struggled in defence so far, conceding too many open chances. They are down 3:6 after eight minutes and Norway, who look like they got their mojo back, are primed to take medal number seven after this game.
10:45 JST Mork eyes top goal scorer award
In only her second Olympic tournament, Nora Mork has been once against the most reliable Norwegian scorer in the competition, having put 44 goals past the opponent goalkeepers. It’s a smaller output than at Rio 2016, where she scored 62 goals, put in the game against the ROC team, she just topped 100 goals, one of the few Norwegian players in history to hit this milestone at the Olympic Games.
She is down only two goals to Jovanka Radicevic (46 goals), who is out of the competition, and five goals ahead of the ROC’s right back, Anna Vyakhireva, who scored 39 goals in the tournament and will take the Yoyogi National Stadium court a few hours later, in the final against France.
10:35 JST Head-to-head record favours Norway
Norway have an overwhelming head-to-head record against the Swedish side, winning 12 of the mutual 15 games in which the two Scandinavian powerhouses met. The last competitive game between Norway and Sweden took place at the EHF EURO 2018, when Norway sealed a 38:29 win that helped them secure the fifth place in the tournament.
The Norwegian side also won five of the last six matches between the two teams, including a 33:20 drubbing five years ago, at Rio 2016, in the quarter-finals. They have also played the EHF EURO 2010 final, when Norway won 25:20, but bear in mind that this is Sweden’s first chance to secure a medal at the Olympic Games, so they could be properly motivated.
10:25 JST Win number 40, medal number seven for Norway?
Norway have been playing a perfect tournament, right until the semi-final game against the ROC. Their usually realiable attack has dipped, solutions could not be found by experienced players, their wings missed one-on-one shots, while Anna Vyakhireva shocked the Norwegian defence to power the reigning Olympic champions to a 27:26 win.
Therefore, Norway are now playing only for the bronze medal, like they did five years ago, at Rio 2016. Yet with a win today, against Sweden, they would become the all-time leaders in the medal standings considering the number of medals won, seven, one more than the Republic of Korea, who won six medals. Right now, Norway have two gold medals, two silver medals and two bronze medals, also becoming the team with the largest number of wins in the competition, 39, but also the team which scored the largest number of goals in history, 1,317.
10:15 JST It's decision day! Who will claim the Tokyo 2020 medals?
After France won the first set of gold medals in the Olympic handball tournament, with their men’s team winning the final against Denmark, 25:23 on Saturday, they will be looking to repeat their success in the women’s tournament, on the final day at Tokyo 2020.
For the second edition in a row, the ROC team and France will be measuring up for the gold medal, as they are the last two teams standing in the competition.
Both sides did not enjoy great starts in the tournament, with France and the ROC team tied at three points in Group B, after three matches. Yet their improvement has been superb over the course of the last games, with the ROC arriving in the final on the back of a five-game winning streak, while France convincingly won their last three matches on the trot.
The reigning Olympic champions, the ROC team, have been one of the most impressive teams throughout the tournament, taking wins against Hungary, France, Spain, Montenegro and Norway to proceed to the last act, after drawing against Brazil, 24:24, and conceding their worst loss in the history of the competition, 24:36, against Sweden.
A wake-up call and a meeting between the players prompted this amazing turnaround, as the ROC side played like a team and alternated great attacking performances, scoring 38 goals against Hungary or 34 goals against Spain, with efficient defensive displays, limiting Norway and Montenegro to 26 goals.
The two sides were second and third in Group B, where they met in the fourth round, with the ROC taking a close win, 28:27. Back Ekaterina Ilina scored nine times in that game, while Anna Vyakhireva, the ROC’s top player in the knock-out phase, scored only five times. On the other side, Alisson Pineau scored nine, with right wing turned right back Laura Flippes adding six goals.
Historically, the Russian side won 10 of the 15 mutual meetings between the two sides, including four of the last five matches. Their last game prior to Tokyo 2020 has been the EHF EURO 2018 final, when France sealed their first European title with a 24:21 win.
However, at Rio 2016, the ROC won both games, also in Group B, 26:25, and in the final, 22:19, a tradition that France will surely want to break.
In the first game of the card, Norway look to add their seventh Olympic medal when they face Sweden, which are in the position to fight for a medal for the first time in history.
Norwegian right back Nora Mork can also become the first player to win back-to-back top scorer awards at the Olympic Games, after sealing the Rio 2016 title with 62 goals. At Tokyo 2020, Mork is currently second with 44 goals, two goals from the first place now held by Montenegrin right wing Jovanka Radicevic. ROC’s Anna Vyakhireva is third, with 39 goals.
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.