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Page last updated at 22:23 GMT, Saturday, 12 June 2010 23:23 UK

British men record first competitive international win


Jubilant scenes after historic GB win

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport at Crystal Palace

Britain's men's handball team beat Bulgaria with almost the last touch of their Euro 2012 qualifier to record the team's first competitive win.

GB had not led the game until Steven Larsson scored the decisive goal to hand Britain a historic 33-32 victory.

"It's almost too hard to put into words. It's been a long time coming," said British captain Ciaran Williams.

The win was not enough to see GB into the European finals, but they avoided finishing bottom of their group.

"I'm very proud of the team, because we've started to believe in ourselves," said GB head coach Dragan Djukic.

"I'm sure that we will not stop winning now," he joked after Britain's first international home victory, at Crystal Palace, which followed a 26-24 win over Belgium in a friendly in Brussels last month.

"We've always had hope of a first win, but we've also been realistic about what it would take. Now we have it, we know how much it means to us all."


GB had been 26-20 down with just over 15 minutes of the game to play, but Bulgaria lost several players to two-minute suspensions in the closing stages of the game and the home team made them pay.

British celebrations began almost immediately following Larsson's winning goal but, as Bulgarian officials protested, the referees cleared the court to allow two remaining seconds of play to be seen out - in which Bulgaria produced a futile long-distance attempt on goal.

While players and coaching staff danced on the court in front of long-suffering British supporters, the result was largely irrelevant in terms of European qualifying, with Britain already out of the reckoning after defeats by Cyprus and Estonia.

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see also
GB men's Euro qualifying bid ends
11 Jun 10 |  Handball
GB edge past Belgium in thriller
29 May 10 |  Handball
GB suffer Iceland handball defeat
31 Mar 10 |  Handball
Britain to host Euro qualifiers
01 Feb 10 |  Handball

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