Yesterday, I visited the Olympic Park in London. More specifically, I went to see the Iceland vs. Team GB handball match at the Copper Box.
The first match we saw was Denmark vs. Republic of Korea, which was surprisingly engaging. I didn’t have a clue about handball until a couple of years ago when I was introduced to it by an Icelandic pal. Now, I almost always understand whats going on in this fast paced game.
It was soon time for the match I had been waiting for. By the way, I still wasn’t entirely sure who to support at this point. I’m definitely British, but I really wanted Iceland to do well. This is particularly foolish as Iceland are already at the top of Group A, and Team GB at the bottom. Iceland are guaranteed to go through to the next round. To complicate things further, the very same Icelandic pal has sent me an Iceland shift to wear. I decide to clap and cheer for both teams, which means twice the work, but also that I can’t technically lose.
The first half is surprisingly good for Team GB, who manage to keep up with Iceland, and are never 2 or 3 goals behind them. There is a feeling though, that Iceland are not playing at full pace, more just toying with the team that hardly existed at all in 2008 when they were playing for Gold in Beijing.
Somewhat bizarrely, snippets of music are played at key moments of the match. Fair enough for goal celebrations, but ‘Under Pressure’ for penalties? It seems a little harsh.
The first half ends 18-15 to Iceland. Team GB fans, which clearly outnumber Iceland fans, are still hopeful. The Iceland team clearly have a half time talk though, and come back at full pace. At one point their score is nearly double that of Team GB’s. The goals come thick and fast.
The final score is 41 – 24. The atmosphere is fantastic. Apparently they call the Copper Box ‘the box that rocks’. I would tend to agree. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself; I’m secretly thrilled for both teams – Iceland for winning, and Team GB for giving their all.
This is the stadium in Olympic Park, alongside a gold, limited edition Wenlock mascot. Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, a town in England near to where I live, and the ‘home of the modern Olympics’. It is not because Much Wenlock residents have only one eye.
They are not selling so well!