REVIEW: There was no shortage of drama and high-class handball in the women's quarter-finals at Rio 2016 which saw the Netherlands, Norway, France and Russia qualifying for the semis
European teams prevail in Olympic women's quarter-finals
The women's handball tournament at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio has become an all-European affair after the Netherlands, Norway, France and Russia won their respective quarter-finals on Tuesday.
In Thursday's semi-finals the Netherlands meet France. The game throws off at 20:30 hrs CET. At 1:30 hrs CET on Friday morning Norway will take on Russia - a repetition of the 2008 Olympic final which Norway won 34:27.
The Netherlands opened the quarter-final day at Rio 2016 with their game against Brazil. It was the meeting of the 2013 world champions, Brazil, against the World Championship 2015 silver medallists, the Netherlands.
Given the fact that Brazil had finished on top of Group A, while the Netherlands had only come fourth in Group B, one could have thought for the odds being slightly in Brazil's favour. However, the Dutch women proved any such thinking wrong and quickly took control of the game.
At half-time they led 12:11 and three unanswered goals at the beginning of the second half granted them with a comfortable lead which they did not allow to slip from their hands to eventually celebrate a comfortable 32:23 win.
France and Spain go to extra time
A couple of hours later, EHF EURO 2014 silver medallists Spain looked like the winners almost until the end of their quarter-final against France.
With three minutes left they led 23:20 - on numerous occasions they had even led by six goals - but France always came back and scored the last three goals in regular time to bring the game to extra time.
Spain did not recover from the shock and when Nerea Pena's shot hit the post with six seconds left, France's 27:26 win was confirmed.
Defending champions Norway then confirmed their role as one of the gold medal favourites, beating Sweden 33:20 before Russia beat Angola 31:27 (18:14) to become the last team to reach the semi-final.
Photos: Stephane Pillaud / IHF
TEXT: EHF / ts
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