- Controversy: Was the hand inside or outside the area? The controversial move that left Spain without World Cup
- Chronicle: A controversial final play of the final against Holland prevents Spain from fighting for gold
Just an hour after posing smiling with the silver medal around his neck, the Spanish handball team was heading in absolute silence towards his hotel in Kumamoto (Japan). No one spoke a single word on the bus. The penalty in the last seconds that gave Holland the victory in the World Cup left a bittersweet feeling. Spain had just achieved the best result in its history, yes, but the gold had been so close that the second place knew little. "It hurts a lot. We have been very close, we have touched it, ” Nerea Pena confessed to ELMUNDO.
“Getting a silver medal is impressive, but we have had options to at least force the extension. It's a strange feeling, ”explained the Navarrese. The coach, Carlos Viver , agreed: «It is very hard to have to manage such a situation. I think we have left everything.
Spain succumbed to the experienced Dutch team (30-29) after a final comeback in which it even had a pitch to win. Shandy Barbosa , chosen best left side of the championship, met with the defense's blocking. The ball then fell into the area of Tess Wester , who quickly searched for the long pass. And that was where the decisive moment came. Ainhoa Hernández plugged the shipment and the French colleges, Julie and Charlotte Bonaventura , expelled the pivot and pointed out a penalty in favor of the Netherlands, which Lois Abbingh scored to win the World Cup. "The play is interpretable, I think the decision taken by the referees is extreme," said Nerea Pena yesterday.
The Spanish players and Carlos Viver barely protested, but immediately began doubts about what happened. Why was Hernández's play punished that way? Ion Bustamente , an international category referee, habitual in the Champions League and the Spanish League, explains it to this newspaper: «The colleges have interpreted that Hernández's blockade has not allowed the ball to cross the area line. The norm indicates that, in a goal kick, the rivals must allow the ball to leave the area and that is why a vertical must be thrown. If the ball comes out completely, it is legal blocking. If it does not cross that vertical, in the last 30 seconds of the match it is effectively indicated red and seven meters. At the time of the action, Hernandez's feet were out of the area, but his arms, and especially the hand that plugged Wester's serve, could be inside the area.
First medal in a World Cup
Those dramatic final moments overlapped the success of Las Guerreras, who won the first silver medal in their history in a World Cup. «We have made an almost perfect championship. Although we still can't see it that way because of everything that has happened, this metal is a dream; the best possible birthday present, ”said Pena, who last Friday blew the candles on her 30th birthday.
And is that Spain came to this championship away from the favorites, with the aim of the Pre-Olympic. No one in the Spanish delegation before leaving for Japan could think of a final. "We are very close to the Olympic Games, which is what we wanted," explained the Hungarian Siofok KC player. Spain will face in that Pre-Olympic (whose headquarters is not yet known) to Sweden, Senegal and Argentina on March 20, 21 and 22.
After the gradual withdrawal of the golden generation, the coach Carlos Viver has placed his trust in a new litter formed by Ainhoa Hernández, Almudena Rodríguez or Alicia Fernández , among others. The slips in the last tournaments (Rio Games, European 2016 and 2018, 2017 World Cup), presaged a path through the long and painful desert. However, the mix between veteran and youth has formed a tandem of the most complete in this championship. The most warrior Spain is back.
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