Handball World Cup: France team in the final after victory over Sweden
through Martin Leduc
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They come back after six years. The Blues will play their first World Handball final since 2017 in front of the reigning European champions’ home crowd after beating Sweden (31-26) in Stockholm on Friday.
To win their seventh world crown, six years after the last, they will have to beat fellow Scandinavians, the Danes, who they defeated at home in the final of the 2021 Olympic Games (25-23) and achieved an unprecedented feat. hat trick.
France, who won back-to-back titles twice during the specialist era (2009, 2011 and 2015, 2017), never understood this.
Many of its members can hope to follow in the footsteps of this 2023 vintage (by which time current veterans Luc Abalo and Mickaël Guigou have retired) who were covered in Olympic gold in Tokyo a year and a half ago. glorious elders.
That will require a new spectacular performance on Sunday at this Tele 2 Arena, filled with around 20,000 supporters dressed in yellow and blue on Friday.
Kent’s Mahe was noisy, if not too noisy, when he came forward to take penalties (4 out of 4 goals attempted), but the Blues gradually faded.
Leading by four lengths (16-12) at halftime, they kept up the pace except for a small slump that allowed the Swedes to pull back to within two lengths (24-22, 48th) midway through the second period.
But 5 minutes later, after a 3:0 victory, the match was left behind (30:24).
Regardless of the difficulties, the injuries, the trip from Gdańsk to Stockholm to play the game while Sweden is hot, the status of European champions and two defeats against them in the same last four games of the last two competitions (World -2021 and Euro-2022).
Guillaume Gille’s men produced a solid match, leading from start to finish except for the first few minutes.
And this despite the absence of the first two choices on the left flank, Nikola Karabatic and Thibaut Briet.
Second, he injured his right hand, as in the quarter-finals against Germany.
First, he appeared on the match sheet after playing only the first twenty minutes, with a very sore leg, against the Mannschaft to make a comeback after missing the previous two matches.
But he didn’t play even for a minute. Be that as it may, the Blues veteran (age 38, 10th and final World Cup) and Briet have been perfectly replaced by Elohim Prandi and even Romain Lagarde, but with reduced playing time in selection recently.
A new image of the incredible reservoir of French handball and these Blues affected by the seven-pack before the competition.
“We were very tactically aligned with the layoffs, we faced the bosses. We did everything we wanted to do,” said left winger Yannis Lenne.
The Swedes were without playmaker Jim Gottfridsson, who injured his left hand, and in his absence could not find the key to crack the tricolor safe.
Their goalkeeper Andreas Palichka, who disgusted the French in the semi-finals of Euro-2022 (9 times in 31 shots), could not stop the blue waves.
Unlike Vincent Gérard, he recovered brilliantly as he left the hero’s mantle to substitute Remy Desbonnet after scoring nil in the quarter-finals (12/38).
In the game, the French back base consisting of Nedim Remili (4 goals and 8 assists in 6 shots), Dika Mem (4/5) and Prandi (2/5) was unstable. Like this kung-fu between the first two (32nd; 17-13).
Sweden had closed the game with pivots, one of France’s strong points, but it gradually loosened the grip and the Olympic champions produced a complete, almost perfect match.
“Winning with style in an incredible room (…): it gives us more confidence and confidence in what we are capable of. I hope that this will help us to reach the finals,” said Ludovic Fabregas.
Pivot and his teammates will have to do it again on Sunday to claim a seventh world crown.
Source: © 2023 AFP
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