A goal from Raúl Entrerríos completed the award for his generation, which sealed the long-suffering and tight victory of Spain against Egypt by 31-33. In this way, the Spanish team passed the tense final exam set by the Egyptian team, led by the Spanish Roberto García Parrondo, and won the Olympic bronze medal.
The award does not fulfill the golden ambition with which the Spanish players traveled to Tokyo, but it marks its quality and its competitiveness. The group managed by the coach Jordi Ribera has managed to get on the podium regularly in the major international competitions in which he competes since he precisely missed the train for the 2016 Rio Games and, a year later, he also fell in the World Cup.
He did not fail against Egypt, in a very close match and that was not resolved until Álex Dujshebaev and Entrerríos sentenced him with the last two goals. Egypt was just one goal behind for quite a few moments in the final minutes. But Spain gave the final finishing touch.
It is the medal that honors a generation, that of Entrerríos, the 40-year-old captain, that of the fifth that won that wonderful 2013 World Cup, surrounded by the 14,000 spectators who filled the Palau Sant Jordi. That team led by Valero Rivera, with Entrerríos, Aguinagalde (38), Antonio García (37), Sarmiento (37), Morros (37), Guardiola (36), Maqueda (33), the injured who missed the trip to Tokyo , Cañellas (34) and the youngest, then, Aitor Ariño (28). Players who finish or are at the end of their careers. Together they have made Spanish handball great all this time.
Jordi Ribera is asked about the success of Spanish coaches, such as García Parrondo, who has directed the epic of the Egyptian team, like the half dozen who lead leading teams from all over Europe. “The level of the players has made us improve the coaches,” says the Girona coach. They proved it once more.
They knew how to overcome the pain of the defeat in the semifinals against Denmark and carried out the duel against Egypt that gave them the medal and allows them to close the Games with a smile and the confidence that the inevitable renewal of the team will begin with good auspices.
The game against Egypt was very close. Ahmed Elahmar, the 37-year-old Egyptian right-back, wreaked havoc on the Spanish defense, as did center Mohamed Shebib. Spain, despite some inconvenience such as the sprained ankle that Aguinagalde suffered when only 16 minutes had been played, responded with his fast game, almost always culminated by Aleix Gómez.
The Spanish team went ahead by three goals, 17-20, but Egypt managed to threaten a comeback again and again. He had it in his hands twice. Tying at 23, Shebib sent a shot to the wood. Antonio García, the Granollers left-back who has offered an extraordinary performance in these Games, was providential with several goals in those moments of equality. Spain suffered again in an extraordinary way in the last two minutes, with 30-31 and 31-32. Dujshebaev and Entrerríos appeared at that time, and they were the ones who resolved.
Egypt pressed all over the pitch in the last half minute. Spain moved the ball until it reached Entrerríos. The captain of the national team scored the goal that closed the victory and gave Spain the bronze, the fourth in the history of the Games after those of 1996, 2000 and 2008. The best finishing touch for the captain, the best legacy from 9.
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