The Korean men’s national handball team’s trip to Paris was thwarted. This is because they suffered a heavy loss to Japan by 11 points in the regional preliminaries.스포츠토토

The Korean men’s handball team lost 23-34 to Japan in the semifinals of the 2024 Paris Olympics Asian qualifiers held in Doha, Qatar on the 27th (Korean time). Previously, Korea beat the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, India, and China in the group stage, excluding Qatar, and advanced to the semifinals as second place in the group.

Before today’s game, the previous record between Korea and Japan was 23 wins, 2 draws, and 3 losses, with Korea taking a significant lead. In the last four games played, they boasted a record of 3 wins, 1 draw, and undefeated. However, before heading to Paris, they suffered a shocking defeat. It has been seven years since Korea’s defeat against Japan in the group stage of the 2016 Asian Men’s Championship.

With this loss, the men’s handball team’s dream of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in 12 years was dashed. After advancing to the finals of the 2012 London Games, the national team failed to advance to the finals of the 2016 Rio Games, 2021 Tokyo, and 2024 Paris Games in a row. This is a national team that would cast an ominous shadow if it did not reach the semifinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games. The women’s handball team also had to settle for a silver medal, losing 19-29 to Japan in the final of the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Korea was dragged by Japan from the beginning of the first half of the day with a series of passing mistakes. The score was 9-10 until the 22nd minute of the first half, but they allowed 5 goals in a row to end the first half at 9-15. Japan scored consecutive goals in the second half, falling behind at 12-21 and Korea by 9 points. Afterwards, the score gap widened further, resulting in a crushing defeat of 23-34.

Lee Hyun-sik (SK Hawks) scored 7 goals, the most on the team, and Cho Tae-hoon (Doosan) scored 5 goals, but it was not enough to stop Japan. Goalkeepers Kim Dong-wook (Doosan) and Lee Chang-woo (Incheon Urban Development Corporation) recorded 4 saves and 1 save, respectively, but their ERAs were only 12.9% and 12.5%.

In an interview after the game, national team coach Hollando Freistas said, “Korea’s shooting accuracy was poor, while Japan steadily made easy shots and widened the score gap. The gap could not be overcome in the second half. “It was difficult to accurately evaluate our strength because our opponents in the preliminaries were not among the top countries in Asia, but today the problem was revealed,” he regretted.

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