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No room for disappointment: “We have achieved great things”

No room for disappointment: “We have achieved great things”

Austrian handball players missed the chance to take absolute first place at the European Championships in Germany in the last main round match.

A clearly tired ÖHB team lost to Iceland on Wednesday in Cologne at 24:26 (8:14), despite catching up after the break. Match report >>>

This means that Mykola Bilic and Co. no longer have a chance to play for fifth place. Had they won, Austria would have reached the fifth place match, and even had a chance to reach the semi-finals.

“We achieved great things in this tournament.”

Despite the recent disappointment, team coach Ales Pajovic has reached an initial positive result.

“We tried everything and had the chance to take the lead in the last few minutes. But out of respect for my team, they gave everything they could,” the Slovenian confirmed in the ORF interview.

Captain Bellick also highlighted the positives. “We achieved great things in this tournament,” the Kiel Corps member said.

Regardless of the final position, this final round can certainly be placed above the eighth place from the European 2020 domestic championship. “Such close games against incredibly strong opponents – if you compare that to the European Championship at home: we couldn't trouble the teams we scored points against here.”

We started with a full team, but the first half was bad

Thanks to the recovery of Defense Minister Lukas Herberger, Austria was able to field a full squad, while Iceland had to play without injured playmaker Gisli Christianson, among others.

However, the Red-White-Red team got off to a poor start with a lot of missed shots and had nothing to thank but Konstantin Mostel for not trailing more than 2:4 (8th place). The goalkeeper saved eight attempts in the first quarter of an hour only, and gave his team the lead for the first time in the 14th minute (5:4).

But that soon disappeared again, and ÖHB, beaten in six tough games so far, continued to struggle up front and fall behind. Iceland made the score 8:6 (20th place) and 10:8 (24th place) and increased to plus 3 for the first time in the 26th minute or, after two numerous technical fouls by the Austrians, to plus 5 (13:28/8). ).

The 7:6 score didn't work out this time either, as the Icelanders' six-goal lead in the second half looked like a small preliminary decision.

Amazing comebacks are almost never rewarded

But Austria once again showed fighting spirit, stopped the Icelanders from playing quickly and came in at around 14:15 (37th place) with a score of 6:1.

Mostel continued to act clearly, allowing Tobias Wagner, who had been denied twice previously, to equalize at 15:15 (41 minutes). Iceland looked completely out of control, and Weber even took the lead at 16:15 with a shot from seven meters (43).

The match was on the brink until the end, and the Icelanders' two-goal lead (22:20/54) was no indication. In a thrilling final stage, only 26:24 in favor of Iceland was the initial decision. Austria, outnumbered, was no longer able to approach.

Wagner criticizes German fans

Wagner appeared depressed after the second defeat in a row.

“Of course we are disappointed that things turned out this way. The first half was our worst in the whole tournament, but we can be happy to fight in the second half.”

There was criticism from the cyclist to spectators in Cologne. “It's a shame that the German fans don't appreciate our performance and are booing us – maybe because they know they had more luck than we did,” Wagner told ORF.

Germany salvaged a 22:22 draw against Austria on Saturday.