Sweden earned a straightforward victory in their opening match of the tournament ©IHF

London 2012 silver medallists Sweden made a winning start to the International Handball Federation (IHF) Men’s Olympic Qualification tournament at the Malmö Arena.

The host nation were only able to finish eighth at the European Championships in January to leave their Olympic hopes in the balance, but produced an impressive opening display in their first match of the four-team tournament against Iran.

Markus Olsson, Niclas Ekberg and Jonas Källman all found the net on six occasions to help the Swedish team to a straightforward 34-19 victory.

A win over Slovenia in their second match would see Sweden move to the brink of claiming one of the two Rio 2016 qualification berths on offer at the tournament, with both teams boasting a win from their opening ties.

It followed the Slovenian team mounting a comeback, after trailing 16-12 at half-time, to secure a narrow 24-21 victory over European Championship silver medallists Spain.

In the qualification event at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning, Denmark got off to an ideal start in front of their home fans after claiming a 28-24 win over Croatia.

Their neighbours Norway also secured a win, with Kristian Bjørnsen scoring 10 goals to guide his team to a 35-29 triumph over Bahrain.

With the top two set to meet tomorrow, Bahrain and Croatia will clash in a crucial tie in a bid to keep their qualification hopes alive.

Norway secured a narrow victory over Bahrain to boost their Olympic hopes
Norway secured a narrow victory over Bahrain to boost their Olympic hopes ©IHF

Poland headed into the third qualification event in Gdansk as the clear favourites to earn a Rio 2016 berth, having earned bronze at last year’s World Championships.

They were able to battle to a 25-20 win over Macedonia in their opening game, while Tunisia saw off the challenge of Chile 35-29.

Victories for both Poland and Tunisia in their respective ties against Chile and Macedonia tomorrow would see both teams secure an Olympic spot with a game to spare.