The Spanish handball team rarely misses a medal if it is close at hand.
As soon as he sees it within his reach, to the casserole.
This time he found himself facing Sweden and 22,000 Swedes in a Stockholm soccer stadium converted into a pavilion.
At the beginning of the second half, they paled before the relentless shooting of the hosts (23-19).
And in the previous one they had confessed that their legs were heavy.
But what else?
It is already known that it is the team of a thousand escapes, and once again it succeeded.
A perfect second half lifted him to bronze in the World Cup (36-39).
On the final day, it was the work, above all, of three names: Rodrigo Corrales, Adriá Figueras and, of course, Álex Dujshebaev.
The first had not added a stop in the quarterfinals and semifinals: zero of three against Norway and did not even go out against Denmark.
However, he appeared after the break against a Sweden rampant in attack, despite missing their star Jim Gottfridsson, and pulled the switch with four almost consecutive interventions that changed the course of the afternoon together with the also decisive defensive change to 5:1 .
The second, an eel in the six meters, was crowned with a performance to remember: nine goals without a miss wriggling around the pivot.
The king of the evening
And the third is no longer Talant's son, but Álex.
The absolute head of the team did his thing again with a display of leadership and command.
Seven goals -two of them from the hip, as he saw his father-, a single missed shot and five assists.
Three stilettos from a set maneuvered by the silent figure of Jordi Ribera, the man who prefers the shadow, the computer mouse who won his sixth medal, one more since the myth of Juan de Dios Román.
It was the fifth metal followed by Spain in a major tournament, after the European gold of 2020, the world and Olympic bronze of 21, and the continental silver of 22. The best streak in the great explosion that began in 1996. Since that European bronze achieved 27 years ago, Spain has left with a medal around its neck half the time.
This is the 18th in 35 possible tournaments in this period.
Until that moment, his best results had been four fifth places between Games, Europeans and World Cups, unable to overcome that bloody border of the quarterfinals.
He scaled that wall and very few have been able to lasso him.
In the middle of this golden age, 15 years ago, the League sank due to the real estate crack, the home tournament continues in its underwear, but its good news at the beginning of the year has rarely been lacking.
With her there is no January cost that is worth it.
The clash was the apotheosis of modern handball.
Goals everywhere, a relentless shooting.
Sweden hit first because their goal was heavier with Tobias Thulin and the Spanish defense had not yet tightened the screws to contain the Scandinavian speed.
The counterattack of four against two with which the hosts captured their maximum advantage (19-15 at minute 26) made clear the Spanish escape route.
The goal was from Hampus Wanne, torture at that point.
Six targets in eight shots until the intermission.
The Catalan's left wing was a toll-free road and Niklas Ekberg appeared on the right, the great Spanish nightmare of recent times (he converted the penalties that left the team without the 2016 Games and without last year's European gold).
Darj also appeared at the local party (four goals without a miss),
Spain, which had once again reserved Álex Dujshebaev as a starter (did not appear until the 17th) and gave flight to an
like Garciandia, suffered behind, but also found its solutions above with a lucid Cañellas, a Casado who had been thrown missing and with the usual finesse of Ángel Fernández.
The match was pure frenzy from which, yes, Sweden emerged victorious: 22-18 at halftime.
"The first part did not presage this," Ribera confessed.
However, his first prescription, Corrales, had immediate effects: Pérez de Vargas had barely been able to stop four shots out of the 26 received.
The Cangués lit up the goal, the defense finally adjusted all its settings with a 5:1 arrangement that baffled the Scandinavians, and the afternoon took a radical turn.
From 23-19 to 23-25 in a snap.
And there was no brake.
Figueras definitely broke out on the pivot line, Álex Dujshebaev multiplied and even gave away a goal in a hanging, Ángel Fernández did not fail his appointment and even Pérez de Vargas returned to the scene to stop a seven-meter shot.
On the other shore, Wanne was no longer biting so much, Darj had faded and the great threat, Eric Johansson, did not exceed two goals.
The Entrerríos, Viran Morros, Aginagalde and company left, and there Spain continues, winning medals.
It was assumed that after the retirement of that old guard it would take the team a few years to return to the podium.
It would have been logical.
But last year only a penalty with time served, precisely against Sweden, took him away from European gold and this 2023 he caught a World Cup bronze that tastes like glory.
Sweden, 36 - Spain, 39
Sweden: Palicka (P), Thulin (P), Appelgren (P), Lagergren (5), Daniel Pettersson, Johansson (2), Claar (4), Fredric Pettersson, Wanne (9), Carlsbogard (3), Persson, Pellas, Sandell, Darj (4), Ekberg (7), Forsell Schefvert and Bergendahl (3).
Spain: Corrales (P), Pérez de Vargas (P), Guardiola, A.Fernández (5), Solé (4), Cañellas (5), A.Dujshebaev (7), D.Dujshebaev, Maqueda (3), Casado (3), Figueras (9), Pecina, Odriozola (1), Sánchez-Migallón (1), Serdio, Garciandia (1) and D.Fernández.
Partial intervals every five minutes: 4-2, 7-6, 10-10, 13-11, 17-14, 22-18 —rest—, 23-20, 24-26, 26-28, 29-32, 32- 34, 36-39.
Referees: C. Bonaventura and J. Bonaventura.
They excluded Carlsbogard (2), Palicka, Maqueda, Sánchez-Migallón (2), Casado and Odriozola by two minutes.
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