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Thanks to its victory on Friday against Denmark (23-22), the French women’s handball team qualified for the final of the World Cup-2021. The French, crowned Olympic champions in Tokyo, will face the Norwegians on Sunday, for a revenge a year after the Euro-2020 final lost against the Scandinavians.
The French handball players, Olympic champions in Tokyo a little over four months ago, climbed to the final of the 2021 World Cup on Friday, December 17, after a beautiful semi-final full of suspense against Denmark (23-22) and find themselves in a match of an exceptional double.
Coralie Lassource’s teammates will face Norway, European champions last year, on Sunday afternoon. The Scandinavians, who have not won the world title since 2015, defeated Spain 27-21 on Friday, pushed by some 3,500 spectators at the Granollers sports center.
For the French, this third stage of their Scandinavian journey in Catalonia after Sweden in the quarterfinals and Denmark in the semi-finals, will be the opportunity to take their revenge on the Norwegians who had beaten them in the Euro final at Herning there. exactly one year.
Earlier, in a very complicated meeting against a Scandinavian defense very well in place, the Bleues made the whole first period behind in the score, penalized by loss of ball (ten in the first thirty minutes) and a failed attack on Althéa Reinhardt, the Danish goalkeeper.
The match promised to be very closed between two teams who know each other by heart and who are known for their defensive strength. The Danes of Jesper Jensen were looking for the key to enter the impermeable French defense, they found some breaches in the blue wall in the first period, to lead 12-10 at the break.
Sixth final for the Blue since 1999
With only two goals in the locker room, the French came out with less difficulty, thanks to the saves of Laura Glauser, in particular a penalty at the 30e minute that could have hurt the morale of the French. The loud announcer of the Granollers sports hall may have passed “I will survive” just before the start of the second half, the French continued to stumble on Althea Reinhardt.
It was in the last quarter of an hour, when the French had badly negotiated a double numerical superiority, that Estelle Nze Minko, Pauletta Foppa and Grâce Zaadi allowed the Blue to reverse the trend.
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And after the failures of Pineau (penalty), Nocandy and Valentini who all three stumbled on Sandra Toft, the second Danish goalkeeper, it was finally the Brestoise Alicia Toublanc, on her right wing, who gave the advantage to the ‘started the last five minutes (22-21), so as not to let the Danes come back in front.
Cleopatra Darleux, coming into play for the second half, defeated Pedersen and sealed the victory at the end of the suspense. France thus remains unbeaten in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and will experience a sixth final after 1999 (silver), 2003 (gold), 2009 (silver), 2011 (silver), and 2017 (gold).
“We went looking for it with the guts, with the mind. We did not have our best game of the competition, but the result is there, we are in the final. It is the most important”, rejoiced Coralie Lassource.
The players of Olivier Krumbholz maintain with this success the hope of achieving an international double in the space of four months after an Olympic coronation, which only the Danes (1996) and the Norwegians (2008) have managed to achieve in the past. (a JO-Euro double at the time).