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| Event type

Handball, Men

Date10 – 24 August 2008
StatusOlympic
LocationGuojia Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing / Ao Ti Zhongxin Tiyuguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing
Participants172 from 12 countries
FormatRound-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.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1FranceFRAGold
Michaël GuigouLuc AbaloNikola KarabaticJoël AbatiDaouda KarabouéCédric BurdetChristophe KempéDidier DinartDaniel NarcisseJérôme FernandezThierry OmeyerBertrand GilleCédric PatyGuillaume GilleOlivier Girault
2IcelandISLSilver
Sturla ÁsgeirssonArnór AtlasonLogi GeirssonSnorri GuðjónssonHreiðar GuðmundssonRóbert GunnarssonBjörgvin GustavssonÁsgeir Örn HallgrímssonIngimundur IngimundarsonSverre JakobssonAlexander PeterssonGuðjón Valur SigurðssonSigfús SigurðssonÓlafur Stefánsson
3SpainESPBronze
David BarrufetJon BelausteguiDavid DavisAlberto EntrerríosRaúl EntrerríosRubén GarabayaJuan GarcíaJosé Javier HombradosDemetrio LozanoCristian MalmagroCarlos PrietoAlbert RocasIker RomeroVíctor Tomás
4CroatiaCRO
Mirko AlilovićIvano BalićDavor DominikovićDomagoj DuvnjakMirza DžombaZlatko HorvatBlaženko LackovićVenio LosertPetar MetličićGoran ŠpremRenato SulićTonči ValčićIgor VoriLjubo VukićDrago Vuković
5PolandPOL
Karol BieleckiMateusz JachlewskiBartłomiej JaszkaMariusz JurasikBartosz JureckiMichał JureckiKrzysztof LijewskiMarcin LijewskiPaweł PiwkoArtur SiódmiakSławomir SzmalGrzegorz TkaczykTomasz TłuczyńskiMarcin Wichary
6Russian FederationRUS
Samvel AslanyanAleksandr ChernovyanovTimur DibirovYegor YevdokimovVasily FilippovOleg GramsKonstantin IgropuloVitaly IvanovAleksey KamaninEduard KoksharovAleksey KostygovDmitry KovalyovDenis KrivoshlykovAleksey Rastvortsev
7DenmarkDEN
Lasse BoesenJoachim BoldsenKlavs Bruun JørgensenLars ChristiansenMikkel HansenPeter HenriksenKasper HvidtJesper JensenLars JørgensenHans LindbergKasper NielsenJesper NøddesboKasper SøndergaardBo Spellerberg
8Republic of KoreaKOR
Jo Chi-HyoHan Gyeong-TaeJeong Ui-GyeongJeong Su-YeongGang Il-GuKim Tae-WanGo Gyeong-SuLee Jae-ULee Tae-YeongBaek Won-CheolPark Chan-YongPark Jung-GyuYun Gyeong-MinYun Gyeong-Sin
9GermanyGER
Johannes BitterSven-Sören ChristophersenHenning FritzHolger GlandorfMichael HaaßPascal HensTorsten JansenFlorian KehrmannDominik KleinAndrej KlimovetsOliver KöhrmannMichael KrausOliver RoggischChristian SchwarzerChristian Zeitz
10EgyptEGY
Mohamed Abd El-SalamWalid Abdel MaksoudAbouelfetoh AbdelrazekAhmed El-AhmarHany El-FakharanyMahmoud HassaballahMoustafa HusseinBelal MabroukHassan MabroukHussein MabroukHamada Bakir El-NakibMohamed RamadanHassan YousryHussain Zaky
11BrazilBRA
Léo Menta Helinho Silvinho Gui Zeba JardelFelipe Ribeiro TupanBruno Santana MaikAlê RodriguesBruno SouzaAlê Vasconcelos
12People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Cui LeiCui LiangHao KexinLi HexinMiao QingTian JianxiaWang LongWang XiaolongYan LiangYe QiangZhang JiZhang XingZhou XiaojianZhu JieZhu Wenxin

Preliminary Round (10 – 18 August 2008)

Quarter-Finals (20 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #1 FRA 27 – 24RUS
Match #2 ISL 32 – 30POL
Match #3 CRO 26 – 24DEN
Match #4 ESP 29 – 24KOR

Classification Round 5-8 (22 August 2008)

Classification matches.

Match #1 RUS 28 – 27DEN
Match #2 POL 29 – 26KOR

Semi-Finals (22 August 2008)

Winner of each match advanced to final round.

Match #1 FRA 25 – 23CRO
Match #2 ISL 36 – 30ESP

Final Round (24 August 2008)

Medal round.

Match 1/2 FRA 28 – 23ISL
Match 3/4 ESP 35 – 29CRO
Match 5/6 POL 29 – 28RUS
Match 7/8 DEN 37 – 26KOR