Romanians win thriller game against Denmark

The last non-football sports competition of the year is usually the Handball European Championships, this year co-hosted by Denmark and Norway. Women’s handball is nowadays the only team sport where Romania is part of the world’s elite, so hopes were high for some metal (read: medal) harvest.

The tournament started well, with a win against Spain, but then in the next two consecutive games the team lost both the world class right wing Cristina Vărzaru, the captain, and the lead goalkeeper Paula Ungureanu, due to injury. The game lost against hosts Denmark added to the bitterness. The team went on to beat Croatia and Montenegro, with the only goalkeeper left in the squad, Talida Tolnai (a.k.a. “Toto”), praying to not get injured. Not only she didn’t, but displayed some heroic performances, having a saves percentage above 40% in every game. Including the semifinal against Sweden, which they lost, in spite of being seen as favorites.

The game for the bronze medal is always difficult to motivate yourself for, and morale seemed to be one of the weaknesses of the Romanian team. They faced Denmark again, in front of a crowd of 12000 cheering for the home team (and booing the adversaries – a surprising feat from a crowd a-priori known for fair play).

What happened – see below:

P.S. Talida, featured in the interview, saved 53% of the shots during the bronze medal game. That’s huge. Congratulations to all!

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