Spain, Norway lead charge to last eight - London 2012 - Handball
Spain edged a tense Group B clash 25-24 in the women's Handball which sent them through to the quarter-finals and Sweden crashing out, while Norway followed them into the last eight on Day 7 at the Copper Box.
The Spanish had to fend off a strong start by the Scandinavians, who knew they had to win to have any chance of progressing. Sweden forged into a 6-3 lead after 13 minutes, with Hanna Fogelstrom scoring three of them.
But they soon capitulated and Spain enjoyed a golden period, throwing in seven consecutive goals over an eight-minute period to lead 10-6.
The half ended with another good spell for Sweden as three successive strikes saw them reduce the deficit to 11-10 at the interval.
The second half was a much more even affair as the two sides traded goals throughout and the scoreboard had advanced to 20-20 with 10 minutes remaining.
Sweden knew it was all or nothing, but Spain seized the initiative in the final two minutes by gaining a crucial two-goal lead.
That was eventually reduced to one at the end, but Spain held on to secure a spot in the last eight.
Nely Alberto Francisca and Marta Mangue Gonzalez both threw in six for Spain, while Fogelstrom top scored with five for Sweden, who bow out of the competition having lost all four of their games.
Meanwhile, reigning Olympic Games and world champions Norway booked their place in the quarter-finals with a winning goal 11 seconds from the end of an all-Scandinavian battle with Denmark, who are now knocked out.
In a topsy-turvy battle that could have gone either way, Karoline Dyhre Breivang scored the decisive goal at the end to break Danish hearts as it finished 24-23.
A mixed first half saw Croatia earn an 8-5 lead after five successive goals, but Montenegro scored seven of the last 11 goals to square it at 12-12 at the break.
The tight nature of the of the game continued well into the second half with the two sides trading goals throughout.
But Croatia made their move with two successive strikes with five minutes remaining and they held the advantage right until the end, despite a nervy finish.
Indeed, Montenegro could have levelled right at the end, but Jovanka Radicevic mishandled the ball with the goal gaping in the final 30 seconds.
The French struck with two decisive goals in a row to grab control of the game in the final 10 minutes and they extended that to win by a three-goal margin in the concluding minutes, with Alexandra Lacrabere top-scoring with four goals.