McCafferty prepared for tough start

27 July 2012 / 15:55

Women's captain Lynn McCafferty believes Team GB's first-ever handball match at the Olympic Games against Montenegro on Saturday could not be any tougher.

When McCafferty leads her side out in the Copper Box it will represent the end of a long journey for British Handball, who only formed their teams in 2006 with the intention of performing at their Games.

While the women's side have made remarkable progress over that time, they still head into the next two weeks as massive underdogs and there will be no easing in when they begin against the European powerhouses.

Team GB have played against them twice in the last 10 months, losing on both occasions, and McCafferty expects Dragan Adzic's side to be contending for a space on the podium.

"We have played them twice and we had two okay first halfs, but we lacked a lot of experience against them," the 33-year-old Scot told Press Association Sport. "One of their domestic teams has just won the Champions League and they beat France to top their qualification group so they are on a real high just now.

"So for us to beat them in our group is a little unrealistic right now. I'm pretty sure they will be medal contenders, if not definitely a top-four finish, so Montenegro is not one of our targets, it's our performance that will matter the most."

The landmark moment of Team GB's rise was a victory over Angola in November's Olympic test event, so a few hands were rubbed together when they were both drawn in Group A.

Coach Jesper Holmris has gone on record as saying that game with the African champions will be a must-win if they are to reach their goal of the quarter-finals, but McCafferty is keen to shift the pressure, adding: "Everyone who is saying we have to win the Angola game needs to look at the bigger picture.

"We have played them three times and lost twice and won one so the odds are stacked against us, so it is not like we have to win the game. We want to win it but we want to win the four other games.

"If the pressure is on, it will be put on from other people, but fortunately we are in this little bubble called the Olympic Park so we won't feel it. We are very realistic about the teams in our group and we are very realistic about our team's performance and the other team's performance, we are not stupid."