Iceland national handball team may leave, for the first time since 2004, the European Championship after the first round.
The Icelandic handball team was a number of years among the world’s best teams, but the 2016 edition of the team is far from its former strength.
Olympic silver winners in 2008, they reached a low point on Tuesday night, when the team lost 28-37 to Croatia and thus must already say farewell to the European Championship in Poland after the preliminary round.
A point was needed against the Croats, after Norway had defeated Belarus, earlier in the day, but the Icelanders were on the spot from the first whistle and were, in fact, never even close to a tie.
After seven minutes, the team was behind 1-5, and the coach Aron Kristjansson had already called his first timeout.
But it did absolutely nothing, because things were getting worse, and seven minutes later the Croatian lead as high as 11-2.
A serious downturn for Icelanders who continue to have top players like Aaron Pálmarsson, Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson, and Alexander Petersson, but nothing worked well in the vital struggle.
At halftime the score was 19-10 to Croatia, and although Iceland had stabilized things a little after the break that did not last for long.
This is the first time since 2004 that Iceland leaves the European Championship final tournament so early.
The Croatians got two points more than they got in the semi-final. The Croatian victory also brings great satisfaction in Norway, for the Icelandic goodbye gives the Norwegians the chance to start the round with four points in their account.
Norway, Croatia and Belarus go to the semi-final where they will meet France, Poland and Macedonia.