|Date||10 – 24 August 2008|
|Location||Guojia Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing / Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing|
|Participants||172 from 12 countries|
|Format||Round-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.|
The 12 men’s teams qualified for the 2008 Olympics as follows – China as the host nation; Germany as the 2007 World Champion; the top six teams from the 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Poland, Iceland, France, Spain, Croatia, Russia); the 2008 European Champion (Denmark); Brazil as the 2007 Pan American Games Champion; and the winners of the 2007 Asian and 2008 African Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (South Korea and Egypt, respectively).
The story of the 2008 men’s handball competition was that of a country of only 320,000 inhabitants. Despite its size, Iceland had been a handball nation since the 1950s, although they had never medalled internationally. At the 1992 Olympics, they had come closest, losing the bronze medal match to France. At the 2012 Olympics, their pool stage performance was a mixed bag: wins against Russia and World Champion Germany, but also ties to Denmark and Egypt, and a loss to South Korea. In the incredibly tight pool rankings, this placed them third, while the Germans were out. Iceland played Poland in the quarter-finals. Poland had been the runner-up at the 2007 World Championships, and had beaten Iceland at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. But the Icelanders’ tough defense and accurate fast-breaks put them in a 5-goal lead at half-time, from which the Poles never recovered.
In the semi-finals, Spain awaited. Having twice medalled at the Olympics, Spain had claimed the 2005 world title. But as against Poland, the Icelanders dominated and eventually easily won 36-30 to earn their first ever spot in a major international final. Hoping to claim the nation’s first ever gold medal, Iceland faced France in the final. The country’s president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who called it the “biggest moment in Icelandic sports history”, was in attendance at the National Indoor Stadium, while most of the country came to a halt to watch the game on television. But the French, who had been favored for the gold back in Athens 2004, opened up a four goal lead, supported by their strong goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer. In the second half France, even increased its lead to a huge 9 points, but the match eventually ended in a 28-23 victory for the French. As with Iceland, it was France’s first ever Olympic medal in handball. In the match for bronze, defending champions Croatia failed to medal, losing 35-29 to Spain.
|Michaël Guigou • Luc Abalo • Nikola Karabatic • Joël Abati • Daouda Karaboué • Cédric Burdet • Christophe Kempé • Didier Dinart • Daniel Narcisse • Jérôme Fernandez • Thierry Omeyer • Bertrand Gille • Cédric Paty • Guillaume Gille • Olivier Girault|
|Sturla Ásgeirsson • Arnór Atlason • Logi Geirsson • Snorri Guðjónsson • Hreiðar Guðmundsson • Róbert Gunnarsson • Björgvin Gustavsson • Ásgeir Örn Hallgrímsson • Ingimundur Ingimundarson • Sverre Jakobsson • Alexander Petersson • Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson • Sigfús Sigurðsson • Ólafur Stefánsson|
|David Barrufet • Jon Belaustegui • David Davis • Alberto Entrerríos • Raúl Entrerríos • Rubén Garabaya • Juan García • José Javier Hombrados • Demetrio Lozano • Cristian Malmagro • Carlos Prieto • Albert Rocas • Iker Romero • Víctor Tomás|
|Mirko Alilović • Ivano Balić • Davor Dominiković • Domagoj Duvnjak • Mirza Džomba • Zlatko Horvat • Blaženko Lacković • Venio Losert • Petar Metličić • Goran Šprem • Renato Sulić • Tonči Valčić • Igor Vori • Ljubo Vukić • Drago Vuković|
|Karol Bielecki • Mateusz Jachlewski • Bartłomiej Jaszka • Mariusz Jurasik • Bartosz Jurecki • Michał Jurecki • Krzysztof Lijewski • Marcin Lijewski • Paweł Piwko • Artur Siódmiak • Sławomir Szmal • Grzegorz Tkaczyk • Tomasz Tłuczyński • Marcin Wichary|
|Samvel Aslanyan • Aleksandr Chernovyanov • Timur Dibirov • Yegor Yevdokimov • Vasily Filippov • Oleg Grams • Konstantin Igropulo • Vitaly Ivanov • Aleksey Kamanin • Eduard Koksharov • Aleksey Kostygov • Dmitry Kovalyov • Denis Krivoshlykov • Aleksey Rastvortsev|
|Lasse Boesen • Joachim Boldsen • Klavs Bruun Jørgensen • Lars Christiansen • Mikkel Hansen • Peter Henriksen • Kasper Hvidt • Jesper Jensen • Lars Jørgensen • Hans Lindberg • Kasper Nielsen • Jesper Nøddesbo • Kasper Søndergaard • Bo Spellerberg|
|8||Republic of Korea||KOR|
|Jo Chi-Hyo • Han Gyeong-Tae • Jeong Ui-Gyeong • Jeong Su-Yeong • Gang Il-Gu • Kim Tae-Wan • Go Gyeong-Su • Lee Jae-U • Lee Tae-Yeong • Baek Won-Cheol • Park Chan-Yong • Park Jung-Gyu • Yun Gyeong-Min • Yun Gyeong-Sin|
|Johannes Bitter • Sven-Sören Christophersen • Henning Fritz • Holger Glandorf • Michael Haaß • Pascal Hens • Torsten Jansen • Florian Kehrmann • Dominik Klein • Andrej Klimovets • Oliver Köhrmann • Michael Kraus • Oliver Roggisch • Christian Schwarzer • Christian Zeitz|
|Mohamed Abd El-Salam • Walid Abdel Maksoud • Abouelfetoh Abdelrazek • Ahmed El-Ahmar • Hany El-Fakharany • Mahmoud Hassaballah • Moustafa Hussein • Belal Mabrouk • Hassan Mabrouk • Hussein Mabrouk • Hamada Bakir El-Nakib • Mohamed Ramadan • Hassan Yousry • Hussain Zaky|
|Léo • Menta • Helinho • Silvinho • Gui • Zeba • Jardel • Felipe Ribeiro • Tupan • Bruno Santana • Maik • Alê Rodrigues • Bruno Souza • Alê Vasconcelos|
|12||People's Republic of China||CHN|
|Cui Lei • Cui Liang • Hao Kexin • Li Hexin • Miao Qing • Tian Jianxia • Wang Long • Wang Xiaolong • Yan Liang • Ye Qiang • Zhang Ji • Zhang Xing • Zhou Xiaojian • Zhu Jie • Zhu Wenxin|
Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals.
|Match #1||FRA||27 – 24||RUS|
|Match #2||ISL||32 – 30||POL|
|Match #3||CRO||26 – 24||DEN|
|Match #4||ESP||29 – 24||KOR|
|Match #1||RUS||28 – 27||DEN|
|Match #2||POL||29 – 26||KOR|
Winner of each match advanced to final round.
|Match #1||FRA||25 – 23||CRO|
|Match #2||ISL||36 – 30||ESP|
|Match 1/2||FRA||28 – 23||ISL|
|Match 3/4||ESP||35 – 29||CRO|
|Match 5/6||POL||29 – 28||RUS|
|Match 7/8||DEN||37 – 26||KOR|