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Roundup: Iceland misses last-second equalizer as Russia suffers "sudden death"
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08:21, August 15, 2008

Dark horse Iceland stumbled to South Korea after missing a last-second equalizer, while Russia suffered a "sudden death" in the Beijing Olympic men's handball event in Beijing on Thursday.

As the most eye-catching dark horse so far in the Olympic men's handball tournament, Iceland, which stunned Athens Games bronze medalist Russia and world champion Germany, conceded 21-22 to South Korea.

Snorri Gudjonsson, who netted in 20 goals in the last two games to top the tournament, could have leveled the score for Iceland, but his last moment shot missed the unguarded gate. The whole match turned out to be a nightmare for the 27-year-old Icelander, when he always found himself entangled with tight defence and scored only one goal.

"We shot badly today, and only 21 goals were far from enough. We missed too many clear chances and made some technical mistakes in passing. What was worse, we were unlucky today," said Gudmundur Gudmundsson, coach of Iceland.

Talking about luck, no team could have needed it more than Russia, which suffered a last-second blow and lost 24-25 to Denmark.

With only fifteen seconds left before the buzzer and trailing 23-24 behind Russia, the Danes replaced their goalkeeper with center back Joachim Boldsen to throw the helve after the hatchet. Wearing the keeper's shirt, Boldsen converted Mikkel Hansen's pass into the net to equalize the score.

The stunned Russian side could have earned a winner. However, they not only saw their long range lob shot soar over the unguarded gate, but also committed a foul when trying to stop the opponent's final counter-attack.

Awarded a freekick just before the end of the game, 20-year-old Hansen stood out to give his country a surprise. His curved shot flew past the defending wall and shaved the far post before hitting the net, leaving no time for the slack-jawed Russians.

"As a coach I have encountered all kinds of situations. But it was my first time to lose a game in such a foolish way," said Russian coach Maksimov Vladimir.

Bouncing back from a previous defeat and the loss of their left back Pascal Hens, world titlist Germany outscored African champion Egypt 25-23 in an earlier game.

As the winner of the 2007 World Championship, Germany suffered a surprising defeat on Tuesday, conceding 29-33 to dark horse Iceland. Left back Pascal Hens injured his knee badly in the defeat and had to end his Olympic journey.

Talking about the injury in the team, German coach Heiner Brand said,"So far as I know, Hens has already arrived in Germany safe and sound. He will receive further treatment. We haven't talked much about him because we have learned not to panic. In 2007 at the World Championship (which we won), many of our players were injured."

"I hope that Hens was awake back in Germany at three o'clock in the morning (and watched the game on TV) and I hope he was awake not because he was in pain," said German right wing Florian Kehrmann.

Host China received the third defeat of their Olympic debut in Beijing, losing 22-36 to 2005 world champ Spain. Coach Yan Weimin felt satisfied with the teams progress in three games and expected a bright future for Chinese handball.

Also in group A, France trounced defending Olympic gold medalist Croatia 23-19, becoming the only team to keep an all-win record at the Beijing Games.

Runner-up of 2007 World Championship Poland also earned a triumph, coming back in the second half to beat Brazil 28-25.


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5 Germany 7 2 3 12
3 South Korea 6 7 3 16
4 Italia 6 4 3 13
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