GB handball 'optimistic' of success away to Israel

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Israel edged past GB in Crystal Palace in the first qualifier
Israel edged past GB in Crystal Palace in the first qualifier

Great Britain's men are "optimistic" of success in Israel on Sunday despite losing to the same side in their first 2013 World Championship qualifier.

Britain lost 29-26 in a tight matchexternal-link at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

GB assistant coach Bill Baillie said: "Israel did underestimate us.

"They had beaten us five times before but had to keep all their best players on the court to stop us. We're optimistic for the return leg in Tel Aviv on Sunday."

Great Britain have been drawn in group one of the European qualifying phaseexternal-link and will go on to face Austria home and away at the beginning of January.

Only the group winner will progress to the second phase of World Championship qualification.

Great Britain, who formed in 2005, recorded their first competitive win in June last year and Ciaran Williams, who scored three goals against Israel, feels they are improving.

"Although we lost the game and are disappointed, we still have small victories," he said. "We had our own personal targets as team and as players and we have achieved them.

"We have got a lot of pride and have left nothing on the court. We wanted to push them and get the victory and make them work for it.

"Maybe if we had been more clinical in front of goal, the outcome might have been more different but it's progress for us."