OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Men must stick to plan, urges Djukic
By Barrie White, Sportsbeat, London 2012
GREAT Britain men’s handball coach Dragan Djukic wants his players to stick to the plan to claim a win against Argentina, after watching his side slip to a second defeat at the London 2012 Olympics.
Djukic’s troops were well beaten by three-time Olympic silver medallists Sweden at the Copper Box, eventually going down 41-19.
But, while he believes that Argentina will be a tough prospect, Djukic expects his side to run them close if they play to their potential.
“Our first target is Argentina,” said Djukic, whose side lost to France in their opening match. “They are good team, a young team like us, but we still believe if we play our best we can be much closer.
“I want to forget the first half as soon as possible. We prepared a lot of tactics but it was not functional like our plan. I believe we can play faster and with better support of the goalkeeper."
Mark Hawkins got Great Britain off and running when he stepped off the wing and scored with delightful looped finish into the net.
Djukic’s side showed good effort, but Sweden were exceptionally quick on the break, leaving goalkeepers Bobby White and Jesper Parker – who were being alternated – exposed.
Old friends Chris McDermott and Ciaran Williams combined well to give the former his first goal of the Games, as Great Britain showed flashes of real brilliance.
But they were being forced into conceding penalties by Sweden’s fast passing and physicality across the line and they headed into the break comfortably 24-10 up.
Great Britain, if lacking in quality and experience, showed real determination and hard work as they fought hard to keep Sweden’s score down.
They tried to copy their opponent’s fast-break style, which has proved so successful, but long passing from their own court often failed to find their targets.
The hosts’ defence picked up as they tried intimidate their more experienced opponents, and even scored four without reply as Sweden’s own suspensions started to bite.
Great Britain kept trying to break the 20-goal barrier, but were still being picked off on the fast break by Sweden, who comfortably saw the game out.
Playmaker Williams revealed Djukic pulled no punches at half-time and insists the team must improve if they are to make any progress at the Games.
He said: “We were really disappointed. There were a few harsh words spoken at half-time. We spoke about the first 20 minutes from the France game – that’s the level we want to play at.
“If you make a slow start you get punished at this level. The next game is crucial – we want to win. We have not come here to get beaten by 20 goals every game.”
© Sportsbeat 2012