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| Event type

Handball, Men

Date24 July – 4 August 1996
StatusOlympic
LocationGeorgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia / Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Participants182 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.

The Olympic field was largely determined at the 1995 World Championships in Iceland, with winners France qualifying ahead of Croatia, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Egypt and Switzerland. The host nation was also admitted, along with continental qualifiers Algeria, Brazil, Kuwait and Spain.

Sweden were easily the best team in Pool A. Their strongest opposition came from the Russians, which tied 20-20 shortly before time only to lose out 22-20. But the real drama was in the Croatia - Russia match, which was to decide the second qualifier from the group. With 37 seconds left to play, the score tied at 24-24, Dmitry Torgovanov was penalized, and the successive Croatian attack was crowned with a goal by Božidar Jović. The Croatians went through to the semis, despite losing by a large margin to Sweden in their fifth group match (27-18).

In the other pool, World Champions France played as expected, winning their first four matches before succumbing to Germany in the last match (24-23), yet securing qualification for the semi-finals. The remaining ticket was to be decided between Spain, silver medallists at the European Championships a few months before the Games, and Egypt, which had the best ever African performance at the World Championships, with a sixth place. Each team had three wins and a loss (against France) before they faced each other in the final pool game. The Spaniards were in the lead throughout the game, but Egypt was never far, losing out only 20-19.

The Spaniards, featuring 1992 champion Talant Duyshebayev (then with the Unified Team), didn’t hold out in the semi-finals, and they were outclassed by Sweden 25-20. The other semi-final was a replay of the 1995 World Championships final. The Croatians were eager for revenge, and took an early lead. By half-time, that had been increased to four points, which was never relinquished and held until the end (24-20).

In the final, the Swedes started out poorly. Croatia capitalized on that, building up an early lead that had stretched to five goals at the half-time mark (16-11). In an all-out effort to prevent a repeat of their loss in the 1992 Olympic final, Sweden initiated a comeback. Wingers Pierre Thorsson (8 goals) and Erik Hajas (7) brought their team closer and closer, but not close enough to hold the Croatians from winning by one goal (27-26). For Croatia, it was the first ever Olympic title won by that country. Five of its players had already earned a bronze while still playing for Yugoslavia back in 1988: Alvaro Načinović, Goran Perkovac, Iztok Puc, Zlatan Saračević and Irfan Smajlagić.

One of the players on the Spanish team that earned the bronze medal turned out to have an excellent Olympics for other reasons as well. Iñaki Urdangarín met Princess Cristina de Borbón, herself a sailing competitor at the 1988 Olympics; they married in 1997. In late 2011, Urdangarín discredited the royal family by being named in a corruption and money laundering case, which is still under investigation as of 2012.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1CroatiaCROGold
Vladimir JelčićGoran PerkovacIrfan SmajlagićBožidar JovićAlvaro NačinovićVladimir ŠujsterBruno GudeljNenad KljaićIztok PucZoran MikulićVenio LosertPatrik ĆavarValner FrankovićSlavko GolužaValter MatoševićZlatan Saračević
2SwedenSWESilver
Andreas LarssonErik HajasJohan PetterssonMagnus AnderssonMagnus WislanderMartin FrändesjöMats OlssonOla LindgrenPer CarlénPierre ThorssonRobert AnderssonRobert HedinStaffan OlssonStefan LövgrenTomas SivertssonTomas Svensson
3SpainESPBronze
Aitor EtxaburuAlberto UrdialesDemetrio LozanoFernando HernándezIñaki UrdangarínJaume FortJesús FernándezJosu OlallaJordi NúñezJosé Javier HombradosJuancho PérezMateo GarraldaRafael GuijosaJosé Salvador EsquerTalant DuyshebayevRaúl González
4FranceFRA
Éric AmalouGrégory AnquetilStéphane CordinierYohan DelattreChristian GaudinStéphane JoulinGuéric KervadecDenis LathoudPascal MahéBruno MartiniGaël MonthurelRaoul PrandiJackson RichardsonPhilippe SchaafStéphane StoecklinFrédéric Volle
5Russian FederationRUS
Aleksey FrantsuzovAndrey LavrovDmitry FilippovDmitry TorgovanovIgor LavrovLev VoroninOleg GrebnevOleg KiselyovOleg KuleshovPavel SukosyanSergey PogorelovValery GopinVasily KudinovVyacheslav Gorpishin
6EgyptEGY
Ahmed El-AwadyAhmed El-AttarAhmed AliHosam AbdallahMahmoud SolimanGohar NabilYasser MahmoudKhaled MahmoudAyman El-AlfyHamada Bakir El-NakibAmro El-GeioushyAshraf Mabrouk AwaadAyman Abdel Hamid SolimanAhmed BelalSaber HusseinSameh Abdel Waress
7GermanyGER
Andreas ThielChristian SchefflerChristian SchwarzerDaniel StephanHolger LöhrJan FegterJan HolpertKarsten KohlhaasKlaus-Dieter PetersenMarkus BaurMartin SchmidtMartin SchwalbStefan KretzschmarThomas KnorrVolker Zerbe
8SwitzerlandSUI
Carlos LimaChristian MeisterhansDaniel SpenglerMarc BaumgartnerMatthias ZumsteinNick ChristenRené BarthRobbie KostadinovichRolf DoblerRoman BrunnerStefan SchärerUrs SchärerAlex Vasilakis
9United StatesUSA
Derek BrownGreg CacciaDavid DeGraafYaro DachniwskyBobby DunnDenny FerchoJoe FitzgeraldTom FitzgeraldDarrick HeathJohn KellerCliff MannonSteve PennMatt RyanMark SchmockerMike ThornberryChip Van Os
10AlgeriaALG
Amar DaoudAbdel Ghani LoukilRedouane AouachriaSalim Nedjel-HammouNabil RouabhiRedouane SaïdiBen Ali BeghouachSofiane LamaliAbdel Djalil BouananiMahmoud BouanikRabah GherbiAchour HasniSofiane KhalfallahMohamed BouzianeSalim AbesKarim El-Mahouab
11BrazilBRA
Cachorrão Testão Petrolina Marquinhos SBFausto SteinwandterPaulo Moratore MiltinhoDaniel Pinheiro Agberto Xexa China MacarrãoRodrigo Hoffelder Jabá Menta
12KuwaitKUW
Abbas Al-HarbiAbdul Ridha Al-BoloushiAdel Al-KahhamBandar Al-ShammariIsmael Shah Al-ZadahKhaldoun Al-KhashtiKhaled Al-MullaMishal Al-AliNaser Al-OtaibiQaied Al-AdwaniSalah Al-MarzouqSalem Al-Marzouq

Preliminary Round (24 – 31 July 1996)

Group A (24 – 31 July 1996)

Round-robin pools.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsDrawsLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1SwedenSWE5001013194
2CroatiaCRO4018132122
3Russian FederationRUS3026137106
4SwitzerlandSUI2034126115
5United StatesUSA1042111142
6KuwaitKUW0050100158

Match #1 RUS 32 – 20KUW
Match #2 CRO 23 – 22SUI
Match #3 SWE 23 – 19USA
Match #4 CRO 31 – 22KUW
Match #5 SWE 26 – 19SUI
Match #6 RUS 31 – 16USA
Match #7 SUI 33 – 16KUW
Match #8 SWE 22 – 20RUS
Match #9 CRO 35 – 27USA
Match #10 SWE 33 – 18KUW
Match #11 CRO 25 – 24RUS
Match #12 SUI 29 – 20USA
Match #13 RUS 30 – 23SUI
Match #14 SWE 27 – 18CRO
Match #15 USA 29 – 24KUW

Group B (24 – 31 July 1996)

Round-robin pools.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsDrawsLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1FranceFRA4018145114
2SpainESP401811497
3EgyptEGY3026113103
4GermanyGER3026121112
5AlgeriaALG014195117
6BrazilBRA0141100145

Match #1 FRA 27 – 25ESP
Match #2 EGY 19 – 16ALG
Match #3 GER 30 – 20BRA
Match #4 FRA 33 – 22ALG
Match #5 ESP 22 – 20GER
Match #6 EGY 31 – 20BRA
Match #7 ESP 20 – 14ALG
Match #8 EGY 24 – 22GER
Match #9 FRA 37 – 23BRA
Match #10 FRA 25 – 20EGY
Match #11 GER 25 – 23ALG
Match #12 ESP 27 – 17BRA
Match #13 ESP 20 – 19EGY
Match #14 GER 24 – 23FRA
Match #15 ALG 20 – 20BRA

Semi-Finals (2 August 1996)

Single-elimination.

Match #1 SWE 25 – 20ESP
Match #2 CRO 24 – 20FRA

Final Round (2 – 4 August 1996)

Medal round.

Match 1/2 CRO 27 – 26SWE
Match 3/4 ESP 27 – 25FRA
Match 5/6 RUS 29 – 26EGY
Match 7/8 GER 23 – 16SUI
Match 9/10 USA 27 – 26ALG
Match 11/12 BRA 31 – 25KUW