Croatia downs Denmark in Olympic handball
LONDON (AP) - Croatia beat European champion Denmark and Iceland edged world champion France in the men's Olympic handball tournament Saturday.
Croatia produced a dominating 32-21 victory that sent it to the top of Group B. It improved to 4-0 with one game left in the group stage.
Undefeated Iceland edged the French 30-29 to move into first place in Group A. It was France's first loss of the tournament.
Also Saturday, Julen Akizu Aguinagalde scored nine goals as Spain topped Hungary 33-22 to move into the second spot in Group B. Johan Sjostrand saved 62 percent of the shots he faced to help Sweden beat Argentina 29-13 in Group A.
Sweden had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals, while Argentina will play Tunisia on Monday to determine which team advances.
Tunisia kept its hopes alive with a 34-17 victory over Britain in Group A. Aymen Toumi scored 10 goals for Tunisia (1-3).
In Group B, Serbia defeated South Korea 28-22 for its first victory of the games. Alem Toskic and Ivan Nikcevic had five goals apiece for the winners.
South Korea was eliminated with the loss, falling to 0-4.
Both Croatia and Denmark had already qualified for the quarterfinals by winning all four of their games before Saturday's matchup.
Croatia's victory was built on speed and accuracy up front, and defensive toughness at the back.
Croatia goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic was surprised by the margin of victory.
"I was expecting a tough game but we won easily,'' he said. "It's unbelievable the way we are winning these games. We are playing really the best defense in this tournament. If we continue to play like this we will go to the final and in the final anything can happen.''
Igor Vori and Domagoj Duvnjak had five goals apiece for Croatia, which opened up a lead just before halftime.
Denmark coach Ulrik Wilbek said he was impressed with the Croatian performance.
"I don't think I have ever seen them better,'' he said, adding his team "had a collective off day.''
"The shots were not very good and the defense didn't work for us today so we lost to a better team in all aspects.''
France, the reigning Olympic champion, was behind for most of its game against Iceland.
With chants of Allez Les Bleus reverberating around the Copper Box, the French fought back and tied it at 15 with 20 seconds left in the first half. But Iceland grabbed control at the end of a tight second half.
Iceland goalkeeper Bjorgvin Pall Gustavson paid tribute to the fans in the handball arena.
"It felt great, the place was blowing up,'' he said. "There was a lot energy in the arena and of course a win against France doesn't happen every day.
"We were playing against one of the best teams in the world, if not of all time. It is two big points, gives us the first place in the group and gives us great confidence for the upcoming games. Of course we want to go all the way. We are taking it step by step.''
French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer said his team remained confident despite the defeat.
"It's only one game and we have to get better next game,'' he said.
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