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Throwback Thursday – Spain loses Olympics final at home

The 1992 Olympics were held in Barcelona and the home team got really close to winning it all. 

(Photo by John Biever/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Reigning world champion Yugoslavia qualified for the tournament but was formally dissolved in the meantime, so they obviously could not participate. Czechoslovakia took their place as neither Serbia, nor Croatia, nor Montenegro was allowed to participate, while Soviet Union was replaced by the Unified Team, which was a joint team consisting of twelve of the fifteen former Soviet republics. 

The 12 qualifying teams were put into two groups and the top two of each group advanced to the semi-finals, while third and fourth placed teams played for the 5th place and fifth and sixth placed teams played for 9th place in another group format. 

Group A:

  1. Unified Team – 10 pts
  2. United States – 8
  3. Australia – 5
  4. Germany – 4
  5. France – 3
  6. Czechoslovakia – 0

The Unified Team kept a clean sheet with 5 wins in 5 games, USA won against everyone else, so they advanced to the semis. Australia beat Germany and Germany beat France.

Group B:

  1. Spain – 9 pts
  2. Italy – 8
  3. Hungary – 6
  4. Cuba – 4
  5. Netherlands – 2
  6. Greece – 1

Italy tied with both Spain and Hungary, but the Spaniards managed to win against the Hungarians, so they claimed first place in the group. As a smaller surprise, Cuba got fourth place. 

Semi-finals and the final

There were a lot of thrills in these games as Italy only won by one against the Unified Team (9-8), while Spain won by two against USA (6-4), so the final was a rematch of the tied group game between the two Mediterranean nations. They could not decide the winner in regulation, but Italy won in extra time (9-8), knocking Spain down from a home gold medal. 

You can watch the whole final here:

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