(BEIJING, August 18) -- When the Women's Handball quarterfinals are played on Tuesday, August 19, the first of the matches will feature a Scandinavian duel between powerhouse Norway and Olympic debutant Sweden in the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium. In the other three matches, Hungary will take on Romania, China plays the Republic of Korea, and France will try to threaten world champion Russia.
Norway vs. Sweden
Norway has rarely been threatened in its preliminary matches, winning against China, France, Kazakhstan and Angola by at least seven goals. Only Romania proved to be a challenge, with Norway winning by one point 24-23 on Sunday, August 17.
Norway employed the most efficient attack of all teams in the preliminaries. They scored 154 goals from 254 shots across five matches.
In their first Olympic Games appearance, Sweden secured a spot in the quarterfinals by beating Brazil 25-22 on Sunday. Sweden beat Germany earlier but lost against Hungary, Russia and the ROK in group B.
Sweden's top goal scorer in the tournament has been left wing Matilda Boson (20 goals).
Hungary vs. Romania
Hungary has to recover quickly from a 33-22 loss to the ROK on Sunday, a defeat that triggered doubts about whether they could seriously challenge Romania. Hungary beat Germany and Sweden in the preliminaries and tied with Brazil to make the quarterfinals.
A threat to Romania's defense is Hungarian center-back Anita Gorbicz, the tournament's top scorer, with 37 goals.
Romania finished second in group A behind Norway, winning their first four matches and only losing to Norway by a single goal.
Ramona Maier is Romania's top scorer to date with 33 goals from 43 shots. Romania also has the tournament's best goalkeeper after the preliminaries, with Luminita Dinu saving an impressive 44 percent of all shots.
China vs. the Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea has been the best Asian team so far in a tournament otherwise dominated by European teams, finishing second in group B. The Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 gold medalists recorded three convincing victories during the group stage, beating Hungary 33-22, Germany 30-20, and Sweden 31-23.
The ROK's formidable attack has produced a tournament-high 155 goals at Beijing 2008.
China beat France 21-18 on Sunday afternoon, securing third position in group A with a two-win, three-loss record.
China's balanced attack features four players that have scored more than 20 goals: center-back Li Weiwei (22), pivot Liu Yun (21), right-back Liu Xiaomei (21) and left-back Wang Shasha (20).
Russia vs. France
World champion Russia started the tournament with a 29-29 tie against the Republic of Korea but won all four matches afterwards, finishing first in group B.
Liudmila Postnova, Elena Polenova, Emiliya Turey, Natalia Shipilova are players to watch on the Russian team.
France lost 21-18 to China on the last day of the women's preliminaries, finishing fourth in group A behind the Chinese.
Of the eight teams that qualified for the Women's quarterfinals, France has the worst shooting percentage, scoring on just 121 of its 255 attempts on goal