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Poland, Denmark take fifth, seventh places men's handball
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Poland on Sunday took the fifth place by defeating Russia 29-28 while European champion Denmark downed Asian ace team South Korea 37-26 to finish seventh in the Beijing Olympic Games on Sunday.

The victory did not bring much delight to Polish coach Bogdan Wenta. "I am happy it is over," said Wenta. He added they did not care about whether they ranked the fifth or not.

"We have plenty of young players who need to be nurtured and trained very well. They have made progress in every match of the Olympics. We have a bright prospect and just need hard training," said Russian coach Vladimir Maksimov after the loss.

Russia, bronze medalist in the Athens Games, gained an upper hand in the first 20 minutes and led by seven points. After the first half ended at 15-14 with Russia leading, Polish players launched a wave of attacks. They tied the match six times and then maintained leading with ten minutes before the buzzer.

In the 7-8 placement, Denmark paved the way for the win after the halftime. Left back Mikkel Hansen helped his squad secure the victory with eight goals.

South Korean coach Kim Tae-hoon said after their defeat, "Denmark is the European champion and was an honor to play against them. They deserved the victory. "

"Right now, we are happy to end the tournament with a victory. But looking over the whole tournament, we cannot be as happy. The other teams had practiced the whole summer and did much better than us," Danish pivot Jesper Noeddesbo said.

Danish coach Ulrik Wilbek said they came to Beijing with great expectation, but failed to make semifinal due to mistakes. The team has reaped a lot in the Olympics and aimed at the World Championships next year.

The shooting efficiency of Danish players all stood above 80 percent, higher than 52 percent of South Korea.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)

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