GREAT Britain Women gave reigning World Champions Russia a scare in their
Euro 2012 clash on Saturday, matching them for long periods and only losing
out 16-24 when many had predicted a rout.
GB had lost 34-18 to Montenegro earlier in the week, and many predicted a
similar scoreline against Russia. But GB put on a superb display for the 350
spectators at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
They trailed by just four goals at 10-14 at half time, and maintained the
pressure on Russia right to the final whistle.
Captain Lynn McCafferty led by example and scored three goals, while six
other players scored two as GB kept Russia guessing about where the goals
would come from.
"We're really happy with the performance," said McCafferty afterwards.
"After Montenegro we worked on several areas of our game to identify what we
could do better. We worked on our defence and some of the little mistakes we
made, and I think we've shown today that we managed to fix things.
"We wanted to play longer in attack and be more composed and more in
control, and we did that. We stuck to our game plan and played our own game
for 60 minutes in both defence and attack.
"They had some players who could score from ten metres which you can't
really stop, but if they got closer than that we worked very hard to make it
difficult for them to score.
"We can take so many positives away from the game and feel good that we're
learning so much from this week.
"We can have confidence that we know how to address our weaknesses. But
people in the handball world won't take us for granted now, so we need to
keep up the hard work."
photos Janos Schmidt