Handball defeat for Team GB

04 August 2012 / 12:29

Great Britain's men exited the handball competition after a 34-17 Group A defeat by Tunisia in the Copper Box.

Dragan Djukic's side have played their part in thrusting handball upon an unsuspecting British public and given their infancy as a handballing nation, it is no surprise that Team GB have struggled against teams who were winning medals long before they were even formed.

The way GB fought until the end deserves some credit and a flourish in the final throes of the first half gives optimism for the future. Five goals from Sebastian Edgar and the continued form of goalkeeper Jesper Parker were other bright spots for the hosts.

Tunisia took a 4-1 lead after eight minutes although that need not have been the case, though, as Chris McDermott, who received two two-minute suspensions in the first six minutes, opened the scoring and several Team GB efforts were missed.

Indeed, they only converted two of their first nine efforts on goal and that allowed Tunisia to take advantage with three back-to-back strikes, earning a 7-2 lead just before the midway point of the first half.

John Pearce ended that run with a nice finish from the wing, but three more goals from the Africans sent them 10-3 up and even at that early stage, that cushion was always going to be unassailable.

Goals from Sebastian Prieto and Gawain Vincent gave the home crowd something to cheer about and formed part of a four-minute spell that saw Team GB score four out of the next five goals, to bring their deficit down to 14-8 at the break.

However, that energy could not be renewed after the interval, and after Prieto missed a penalty, Tunisia scored five of the next seven goals to snuff out any hopes of a comeback.

One thing that cannot be levelled at Djukic's side is a lack of desire or fight, and Steven Larsson threw in a seven-metre effort which received a cheer as loud as the first from the unwavering home support.

Other goals from Edgar and Martin Hare went in as Team GB battled bravely, but they just could not compete with a strong Tunisia, who put themselves in with the chance of a quarter-final spot, thanks largely to 10 goals from Aymen Toumi.

Team GB complete their Group A campaign against reigning silver medallists Iceland on Monday, while they can take pride in the way they have helped spread the handball word over the last week.