Sweden got their European Women’s Handball Championship campaign on home soil to a perfect start today with a 25-19 victory against Spain in Stockholm.
Goalkeeper Johanna Bundsen pulled off a string of good saves for the Swedes and a sell-out crowd saw a fine all-round performance on the tournament’s opening day.
Elsewhere in Group A, Serbia defeated Slovenia 36-34 to help them top the table after the opening games.
In Group B, France, silver medallists at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year, started with a 31-22 win over Poland while Germany overcame rivals The Netherlands 30-27 in Kristianstad.
Spain took an early lead in the competition opener, but the hosts fought back and had got in front for the first time 15 minutes into the clash, going 6-5 up.
After the Spanish got the score level at 8-8, the Swedes gathered momentum with five unanswered goals and by half-time they were ahead 14-10, with four coming from Nathalie Hagman.
In the second half, Spain looked to be getting back at their opponents, but a missed penalty sparked a period of four goals in a row from Sweden and at this point, the game was up.
After the game, Sweden’s right back Sabina Jacobsen praised the crowd inside the Hovet Arena.
"It was amazing," she said.
"Since I was little, I have dreamed of playing for so many people and I’m very glad."
In the group’s other match, Slovenia’s Tamara Mavsar found the net nine times, but despite this ended on the losing side.
Ana Gros scored eight for the Slovenians, but eight from Sanja Radosavljevic and six each from Katarina Krpez Slezak guided Serbia to victory.
The Netherlands led their opening match against Germany 14-13 at half-time, but a brilliant performance after the break saw the latter edge ahead in the end.
Svenja Huber was the stand-out player for Germany as she finished the game with seven goals.
France had a comfortable opening game of the tournament as they beat Poland with five goals a piece coming from Amanda Kolczynski, Siraba Dembele and Estelle Nze Minko.
Tomorrow, Malmö is due to host matches in Group C between Hungary and the Czech Republic and Montenegro and Denmark.
Rio 2016 champions Russia start off against Croatia in Helsingborg before Group D’s opening games are completed by title holders Norway taking on Romania.
The Championship is scheduled to run until December 18.