GREAT Britain Women completed their Euro 2012 qualification campaign on a high, causing hosts Russia problems for much of the game in Togliatti before going down 31-22.
Russia are one of the top five handballing nations in the world and have been drawn to meet GB again in the Olympics, but Jesper Holmris and his side proved a match for them once again, despite having 3,000 partisan Russian fans packed into the arena.
GB only lost the home leg at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre by eight goals, and Russia were expected to put in a much-improved performance in their home match.
However, they were only 16-11 ahead at half time, and the GB defence continued to frustrate them and Russia only won by nine goals.
Marie Gerbron (pictured) top-scored for GB with six goals, while Holly Lam-Moores added four.
“It was a fantastic GB performance,” said Head Coach Jesper Holmris.
“It was a very motivated Russian team with all their best players available who started the game, but Sarah Hargreaves also had a great start to the game saving three 100 per cent chances which helped GB close the gap to 6-3.
“The rest of the first half we played really disciplined in attack and created good opportunities both against their 6:0 and 5:1 defence.
“With two minutes left of the first half and a man up we really had the chance to level the score but instead Russia scored twice and the first half ended 16-11.
“The second half was really positive in the way that we stuck to our game plan, we did not run out of steam and we scored more goals on fast breaks than Russia.
“All players contributed to a really strong GB performance against one of the best teams in the world.”