Team GB face Olympic champions France in London 2012 opener
Friday, 15 June 2012
June 15 - Team GB's men's handball side have been given one of the toughest possible starts to London 2012 as the competition schedule unveiled today revealed their first match at the Copper Box on the Olympic Park is against reigning Olympic champions France.
The match will take place on July 29 on day two of the Olympic handball competition and although it will be the first time the two teams will have played each other, the hosts will go in as huge underdogs against the French.
One of the standout men's matches will take place on day four when Serbia (pictured below) play Croatia in a repeat of the recent European Championship match which Serbia won.
The Team GB women's side will be in action first on day one of the Olympic handball competition (July 28), where they face a much easier opener as they take on Montenegro, with both teams making their Olympic Games debut.
Britain lost Montenegro 37-22 in a European Championship qualifying match at Crystal Palace.
The highlight of day one will see reigning Olympic champions Norway take on France in a repeat of the final at the 2011 World Championships.
Later in the women's draw, Britain face a potential crucial clash on day seven against Angola (pictured below in yellow strip).
Angola are the 11-time African Champions but were beaten by Britain 22-20 at the London 2012 handball test event in November.
"Handball has constantly been one of the major sports in the Olympic Programme since 1972, which makes the handball family very proud, as this is a clear signal for the worldwide interest in our sport," said International Handball Federation (IHF) President Dr Hassan Moustafa.
"Looking upon the numbers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, handball was among the top sports concerning TV figures and looking upon the ticket sales for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, it is impressive how fast the handball tournament was sold out.
"The promotion of handball has been tremendous in Great Britain, since London was awarded as host of the 2012 Olympic Games in 2005.
"We are proud to welcome the world of handball in London and we are sure that we will see thrilling, brilliant matches with the best players of the world."
The men's quarter finals, as well as all semi-final and final matches, will take place at the Basketball Arena, also on the Olympic Park.
The women's gold medal match is on August 11 and the men's final on August 12.
The full handball competition schedule can be viewed here.
May 2012: London 2012 handball draws made