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Sweden, Russia Earn Familiar Confrontation

September 30, 2000

Sweden and Russia swept into the men's team handball final to set up their fourth title-deciding clash in as many years.

Sweden beat perennial bridesmaids Spain, 32-25, in the semifinals while Russia recovered from a minor scare midway through a bad-tempered match with Yugoslavia to win, 30-26.

The two northern European rivals will face off in the Sydney Dome today in a repeat of the 1992 Olympic final won by a Russian unified team.

Since then they have contested three major finals.

The Swedes beat the Russians in the 1999 world final in Egypt and again in this year's European championship final in Croatia while the Russians won their 1997 world final.

The Swedish royal family turned out to watch their side in a tournament which has had its fair share of royal visitors recently.

Denmark's Crown Prince Frederick was here on Friday while Spain's Queen Sofia and Princess Cristina were in the stands today to watch Cristina's husband Inaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca and captain of the Spanish squad.

In women's action, defending champion Denmark downed South Korea, 31-29, to reach the but world champion Norway was stunned, 28-23, in the biggest upset of the tournament.

Denmark prevented South Korea from reaching its fifth Olympic final in a row.

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