Handball team loses gracefully

Home advantage failed to help Greece during the return leg of the World Handball Championship qualification playoffs against Germany yesterday in Drama, eastern Macedonia, and the team went down 27-20 despite another spirited performance. The result means that Germany advances to the finals of the 2011 tournament and Greece will have to plan ahead for the qualification stage of the next World Championship. The national team was always the underdog in this tie against the professional and well-known German players, some of whom count among Europe’s elite. Greece had to overturn a 25-20 deficit from the first leg on June 12 in Dortmund, Germany, a result that was rather flattering for the national team given that it had put on a particularly good showing while the hosts were having a rather bad day. Yesterday the Greeks made a good start and were close to the Germans for most of the game, but after the score hit 18-17 the visitors powered ahead to seal their qualification with a second victory at the Krachtidis Indoor Hall in Drama. Crucially, the German keeper made 16 saves against just five by the Greek.