GB handball team beaten by Brazil

Great Britain women produced their best display of the Olympic Games so far, though still went down to a 30-17 defeat to Brazil in the Copper Box.

Having suffered heavy losses in their opening two Group A matches to Montenegro and Russia, Team GB at last showed the British public, who have taken handball to their hearts in the opening few days of London 2012, evidence of the progress they have made in recent years.

With just six years of playing under their belt, losing by such a margin to the Pan American champions, who retained their 100 per cent record for the tournament, is no disgrace and Team GB's best chance of recording a win in front of their home crowd remains against Angola in their next game on Friday.

The performance of Sarah Hargreaves and the defence were real positives, while Lyn Byl's five goals made her GB's top scorer for the tournament. But it was the overall display and atmosphere in the Copper Box that will only have added more fuel to the handball bandwagon which is enjoying an unprecedented public journey during the Games.

Jesper Holmris' women came up against a brute-like Russia side on Monday, who dwarfed them during a 37-16 defeat, but while the South Americans were less of an imposing physical presence, they still offered out some early punishment, making the hosts pay for some sloppy play in attack to lead 5-2 after seven minutes.

But two Britt Goodwin goals and a Byl fast break brought the partisan Copper Box to life as Team GB were enjoying their best spell of the competition so far.

They were defending superbly, with goalkeeper Hargreaves in heroic form early on, but they could not capitalise at the other end as a number of handling errors and misplaced passes prevented them from narrowing the three-goal deficit.

A time-out and two-minute suspensions for Byl and Goodwin saw the host nation lose their momentum and Brazil scored six unanswered goals to open up a 13-7 advantage. A fine lob finish from Holly Lam-Moores ended that sequence and Zoe van der Weel followed suit straight after as the South Americans were up 17-8 at the half-time interval.

With the match already gone, the second half was all about performance and they scored consecutive goals for the first time in the match early in the second period through Byl and Marie Gerbron. Brazil, however, snuffed out any hopes of a GB comeback, scoring at regular intervals to maintain an 11-goal cushion at the halfway point of the second half.

The Copper Box crowd, who kept the volume on maximum until the end, were rewarded with goals from Kathryn Fudge and Gerbron and despite the loss they will have gone away loving handball just a little bit more. The defeat leaves Team GB rooted to the bottom of Group A, though they are hoping a landmark win will come in Friday's clash with Angola.