Handball has rough week

The national handball team showed it has plenty of work to do if it is to push for its first-ever ticket to European Championship finals, suffering two defeats at the start of its qualifying group. Yesterday Greece hosted Norway knowing it had to beat the Scandinavians in order to have any hopes of reaching the finals, but it simply could not match them. Norway won 32-25 at Xanthi, leaving Greece with no points after two games. «In the first half, we stayed in the game up to the 19th minute, before committing one error after another in the rest of the half. Overall, we gave away 19 goals from organized attacks and the rest from fast-breaks,» admitted Greece coach Nikos Mantzos. On Wednesday, Greece had traveled to the Czech Republic to face the mighty hosts and duly conceded a 32-20 defeat. «It was a difficult week for the lads. Unfortunately, they showed that they are not at their best form at this time,» Mantzos added. «We are working toward attaining a better level of play and covering the gap with the other teams in the group,» said player Evgenios Koulouris.