STA, 24 January 2020 - The Slovenian men's handball team lost to Spain 32:34 in the semi-finals of the European Championship in Stockholm on Friday, and will play Norway in the third-place match tomorrow.
The reigning European champions Spain were too much for Slovenia who were looking to make it to what would be their second European champions finals ever, taking advantage of many fast-breaks to build a 20:15 lead in the half-time.
The five-goal lead proved to be too much to recover from for Slovenia, who nevertheless fought to the final whistle and were only one goal behind in the last minute.
After what was the third loss for Slovenia in the four semi-finals at major competitions so far, Slovenia's Jure Dolenec said the team played a very bad defence in the first half and that he was "honestly really disappointed."
Slovenian head coach Ljubomir Vranješ said that the Spaniards were much better in the first half as his players had made very bad mistakes on defence, but what was important that they had fought until the last minute.
"They did not give up at all, but they fought the entire time, and this is good," he said, admitting that it would be hard to motivate players and find energy for the third-place match.
Slovenia will try to bounce back from the loss on Saturday as they try to win the bronze medal against Norway, who lost to Croatia 28:29 in a double overtime thriller in the other semi-final earlier today.
Slovenia already played Norway in the last match of the second round of the ongoing European championship on Wednesday, losing 30:33.