Olympics-Handball-Spain claim bronze with narrow win over Egypt

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Handball - Men - Bronze medal match - Egypt v Spain - Yoyogi National Stadium - Tokyo, Japan - August 7, 2021. Team members of Spain celebrate after the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

TOKYO (Reuters) -Spain claimed the bronze medal in Olympic men's handball for the fourth time in their history with a 33-31 win over Egypt at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

The sides fought out a tense match at the Yoyogi National Stadium before Spain pulled ahead to lead 19-16 at halftime.

Egypt, who were the first non-European team to play for an Olympic medal since South Korea earned silver at the 1988 Games, stepped up the pace after the break, closing the three-point gap.

The teams were then locked in a tense showdown, until Spain took a two-goal lead at 30-28 with less than five minutes to go, which proved too big a gap for the "Pharaohs" to bridge.

Spain, who also won bronze at the 1996, 2000 and 2008 Games, showed character in the closing minutes, left back Antonio Garcia Robledo said.

"To take an Olympic medal is so special. I cannot explain my feelings right now," he told reporters.

For Egypt, the loss marked a painful end to an impressive run in Tokyo where they sent Germany packing in the quarter-finals and lost only one match - against 2016 Olympic gold medallists Denmark - during the group stage.

"We fought to the end and it was a really tough tournament for us, but honestly we're such a young team. We still have a lot to come," 21-year-old Ahmed Mohamed said.

"At least we wanted one medal to go back to Egypt... We deserved it. We really tried everything we could do until the last minute."

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink in Tokyo and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris and Ed Osmond)

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