South Korea vs. Sweden (Group B)
The South Koreans found themselves on the wrong end of a brilliant comeback against Russia in the opening round of play. Sweden, meanwhile, faced a less stiff opponent in Argentina. South Korea will quickly have to regain its composure to make another deep Olympic run. The match could very well start quickly again, but the South Koreans are going to have to buckle down once that lead is established.
France vs. Russia (Group B)
Russia flexed its muscles in the opening round of play against Korea, coming back from an eight goal deficit to win by five. With confidence in the locker room at a high level, Russia will be keen to keep the good times rolling against the disciplined French, who saw off a streaky Netherlands. Keeper Amandine Leynaud will need to have a similarly impressive game on the line if France is to contain Russia.
Spain vs. Norway (Group A)
The Olympics got off to a disastrous start for two-time defending champions Norway, who looked far from champions when they squared off against Brazil. An error prone transition game and an invisible Heidi Loke succumbed to the vibrant Brazilian squad. But there is still one bright spot: Nora Mork shot 12 for 12 in that game. If she can maintain a similar level of play, and if the Norwegians tighten up on the transition, then they have a lot to look forward to against Spain who didn’t look as impressive as that 25-19 scoreline over Montenegro suggested.
Brazil vs. Romania (Group A)
One of these sides was electric in its first game and won. The other side moved very slowly and lost. Brazil, coming off of its opening victory over Norway, will continue to use that pulsating rhythmn of play against Romania, who were victims of the fast break in their opening rond defeat. Cristina Neagu is going to have to wake up her team if they are to avoid a disastrous start to the Games. Meanwhile, Ana Paula Belo and company are going to continue looking for moments to frustrate the weaker Romanian compatriots in transitional play.
Argentina vs. Netherlands (Group B)
There was a span of 15 minutes when the Netherlands looked brilliant against France, but it was too little too late. Tess Wester had an incredible performance, saving 15 shots faced. Nycke Groote was largely absent in the first half, but lit the fuse for that initial Dutch comeback. She and her compatriots won’t face as tough of a challenge against Argentina. Playing a consistent hour of handball could do much for this side once play resumes against stronger opponents.
Angola vs. Montenegro (Group A)
Things couldn’t have started off much better for Angola. Not only did they take down 2015 World Player of the Year Cristina Neagu and Romania, but they also begin round two of play against a Montenegro side that looked a shell of itself against Spain. Angola, with its staunch defense and work off the fast break, will capitalize on any inopportune errors made by Montenegro. Though Katarina Bulatovic did record a respectable five goals for her Montenegran squad, that back line has to be much more disciplined if Montenegro is to make a return to the knockout phase.