London 2012 - GB women qualify for handball Euros
A second successive victory over Finland at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre gave Great Britain women a spot in the group stages of the 2012 European Championship.
Following Friday’s nine-goal win, GB made sure of their passage through to the next stage with a 27-20 win on Saturday evening.
They will now prepare to take on Russia, Montenegro and Poland home and away in six matches over the next year, and are under no illusions about the challenge ahead.
And leading the plaudits following an emphatic win was Sir Clive Woodward, the British Olympic Association’s Elite Performance Director, for whom the GB win was his first taste of live handball and prompted rave reviews afterwards.
"I thought it was fantastic,” he said afterwards. “The athleticism and physicality was very impressive and it was a great game to watch.
"Success starts from the top and British Handball really have the leadership and the organisation right and that filters down into the rest of the team.”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Jesper Holmris said: “The first half was fantastic – the best performance we have had so far.”
GB led 17-4 at half time, and Holmris added: “Finland played much better than they did in the first leg, but our defence was just amazing and Sarah Hargreaves in goal was awesome in the first half.
“Both Lynn McCafferty and Lyn Byl also played really well, but the whole team played their part.”
McCafferty was joint top scorer with seven goals alongside Kelsi Fairbrother, while Byl added four goals to help reach the group stages which begin with a match against Russia in October.
“Russia and Montenegro are two of the top teams in the world,” added Holmris. “It’s a tough group, but it’s just a great chance for us to play against those teams.”