GB target Argentina handball victory

01 August 2012 / 15:21

An old rivalry will be renewed on Thursday when Great Britain face Argentina in the next game of the preliminary stage in the men's handball.

While political and footballing tension is nothing new for the two nations, the competitive match-up in handball is a novelty after Team GB were only formed in 2006, though they have met in a friendly.

With their first two matches in the Olympic Games ending in maulings at the hands of heavyweights France and Sweden, which saw Team GB accrue an unhealthy goal difference of minus 51, Dragan Djukic's side has pin-pointed this encounter as one to win.

With the South Americans also playing in their first Games and losing their opening two matches, it appears that the clash at the Copper Box does indeed represent their best chance of recording what would be just a second ever competitive win.

Serbian coach Djukic was so desperate to play Argentina that he chose to be placed in Group A when the draw was made in May, disregarding the presence of reigning gold medallists France, reigning silver medallists Iceland and three-times silver medallists Sweden.

"From the beginning we really believed we can get closer to Argentina than the other teams," he told Press Association Sport. "But we need every player to play their best handball ever on the same day to beat them. We chose Group A because of Argentina, they remain our main target.

"Even though they have an amazing team with amazing individuals, they are still a young team in their first Olympics and the rivalry between the two nations is something else to play on. For us, it's the most important game. Let's see how we do, but we are the best prepared we can be and I hope the supporters recognise."

Djukic, who will leave his post after the Games, has his players singing from the same hymn sheet, and playmaker Chris Mohr told Press Association Sport: "The most important match is Argentina, who we believe we can beat.

"We need to try and be faster, be more aggressive in defence and score more. We need to score every time we attack and that is how we will win games.

"They are not that different to European teams, they are very fast. They are not as tall and physically we are just as strong as them, and that will help us because Sweden and France were a lot bigger than us so I am sure we have a chance against them.