(BEIJING, August 13) -- Romania out-powered France, Norway cruised past Kazakhstan and Hungary rocked a last-minute win over Germany on day five in the Women's Handball competition at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium.
Russia vs. Brazil: 28-19
Brazil got off to a good start with top scorer Alexandra Nascimento netting five goals, but Russia proved too strong for the Pan-American champion when the 2007 world champion swerved to a focused play. Though they lost key player Anna Kareeva to injury early on, Russia still had Ljudmila Postnova, Ekaterina Andryushina and Irina Bliznova who ensured the team would forge ahead and maintain the lead through the finish. Postnova was the top scorer with six goals for the Russian team.
Romania vs. France: 34-26
Romania staked further claim on its medal contender's position by overpowering France in the morning clash, with top scorer Ramona Maier firing 11 goals. France didn't look in good shape since the last fight with Kazakhstan, even their sharp-shooter Sophie Herbrecht had rather low jump shot efficiency, only Raphaelle Tervel (FRA) scored with all six of her shots. Throughout the game the French team lacked inspiration to catch up to the tempo of the Romanians, who were sharp in attack and solid in defense, and thus slid to defeat when the final whistle blew.
The Republic of Korea vs. Sweden: 31-23
Being equipped with two "score machines" Park Chung-hee and An Jung-hwa, each contributing seven goals, the ROK easily outclassed Sweden.
Sweden got off to a strong start but the ROK team soon took control and led 18-13 at half time. After the break the ROK maintained the advantage, when an incident that Sweden's goalie Madeleine Grundstrom got hurt by a penalty shot from Choi Im-jeong (KOR), who was then red-carded. But overall the game was one-sided.
China vs. Angola: 32-24
It was an intense preliminary match, since both teams needed to win to have a chance at advancing to the quarterfinals.
After a restless first half seeing the two sides playing a match that showed lack of experience, the latter half saw China taking control of the game and gradually increasing the score gap. Right-back Liu Xiaomei (CHN) scored seven goals while left-back Wang Shasha (CHN) hit six. For Angola, Nair Filipe Pires De Almeida had a third impressive match, netting eight goals.
Norway vs. Kazakhstan: 35-19
Already through to the quarterfinals, Norway used the match as a chance to practice different tactics. Kazakhstan played well in defense in parts, and goalkeeper Tatiana Parfenova (KAZ) made some good saves. In attack, Yelena Portova (KAZ) and Yana Vassilyeva (KAZ) managed five and six goals, respectively.
Germany vs. Hungary: 24-25
Both teams were desperate to win the match to secure a quarterfinal ticket, and Hungary prevailed in the end.
Living through two not so good matches, Germany finally honed its play. They closed gaps in their defense and simply managed to send more balls behind the opponent's goalkeeper -- nine of the goals were signed off by Nadine Krause (GER). Though Germany was in the lead for almost the entire game, Hungary was never far away, and in charge of the chase was the team's top scorer Gorbicz, with nine nettings, including the all important last minute goal -- a 7m penalty shot. It was this shot that sealed Hungary's narrow victory over Germany.
With a total of 24 goals, Gorbicz is the current top scorer of the Women's Handball competition.