France defeated Germany and advanced to the semi-finals
France was afraid, but passed. At a half-empty Ergo Arena in Gdansk on January 26, the Blues narrowly qualified for the World Cup semi-finals in Poland and Sweden until January 29. They had a tough fight against the tougher Germans (35-28). This is the fifth consecutive time the Habs have reached the final four of the World Series.
Just like in the 2021 World Cup and Euro 2022, France and Sweden will meet on one side and Denmark and Spain on the other side in the semi-finals. The Olympic champions will approach this match with the spirit of revenge as the Swedes have beaten them twice at this stage of the competition during these two meetings.
Only 12e 2021 World Cup, 6e Tokyo Olympic Games and 7e In Euro 2022, the Germans resisted the French for a long time, even though they were not the favorites for this match. As expected, the main threat for the German side came from Juri Knorr, handball’s new nugget across the Rhine. At the age of 22, the Mannheim central midfielder is becoming a star in his country.
The Germans, who started the meeting with a bang, managed to make the French doubt. The extra day of recovery enjoyed by Guillaume Gille’s men certainly weighed in the balance as their opponents stood up physically in the second half.
“For the last twenty minutes, France were clearly on top. Icelander Alfreo Gislason, head coach of the German national team, admitted at the press conference. Their defense was very good, they had a great goalkeeper. At the end, seven goals is difficult, but France are a fantastic team and some of my players were tired. I think France can win the tournament. »
Two guards are on fire
Therefore, suffering France continues its way in this competition. After the meeting, Guillaume Gille was more than satisfied with the result: “We got off to a very bad start, the Germans were successfully shameless for the first quarter of an hour, we had to prepare ourselves, then Remy Desbonnet’s saves changed the balance of power. The end of the match opened the door to the semi-finals. “It’s a fantastic challenge to play such a match in Stockholm, in a hostile environment.” The head coach of “Blues” said.
Each period saw a keeper doing his best. At the beginning of the match, the French forwards faced the German goalkeeper Andreas Wulf, and Vincent Gerard was on the water. The French goal conceded zero points in 10 German shot attempts. Guillaume Gille wasted no time in making the right decision and brought on his second goalkeeper Remi Desbonnet in the 14th minute.e minute.
This change would completely change the face of the meeting. The Montpellier player completed 14 of 30 shots with 47% efficiency. The 30-year-old, who was named man of the match at just 1.82m, will not be forgotten tonight with an average height that constitutes a handicap at international level.
“This is the most important game of my career in terms of shares. – Montpellier said clearly moved after the meeting. In duels in the second half, we dominate, and therefore life inevitably becomes easier. (…) Gradually we managed to apply our physical strength. We knew it was going to be a big fight. We are happy to slowly make them surrender. »
In terms of French satisfaction, Nedim Remili, Kentin Mahé, Nicolas Tournat and Ludovic Fabregas were solid. Although Dika Mem lacked rhythm after missing four games with an abdominal contracture, Melvyn Richardson’s introduction allowed the Blues to take the lead just before the break.
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Nikola Karabatic, still struggling with his left leg, was only able to play twenty minutes and is uncertain for the next match. A situation that is all the more worrying as Elohim Prandi is out with an ankle injury and Thibaut Briet, who is absent tonight, has injured his right hand. Left-back Guillaume Gille could call on Romain Lagarde, who has played little since the start of the tournament, in the next match.
Two days later, the “blues” will challenge the Swedes, who knocked Egypt out of the competition without shaking (26-22). Like the final, this encounter will take place at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, where the 19,000 seater completely won over the Yellow and Blues. Having played all their home games, the Scandinavians will have the upper hand against the French, who are due to travel to Stockholm on Thursday from Gdansk.
A year ago, at Euro 2022, the Swedes prevented France. The performance of the goalkeeper Andreas Palichka, who was the author of 12 saves, was very heavy in the balance. Jim Gottfridsson, the scorer of the Swedish national team, may miss this game because he was injured in the game against Egypt. He would suffer a broken finger.
Spain revived, favorite Denmark
In the evening in Gdansk, Spain, at the end of the match that will go down in handball history, Spain won over Norway after two overtimes (25-34). The Spaniards, who lost to France three days ago, played a difficult game. Their qualification owed a lot to the services of FC Barcelona goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, who was decisive in the final minutes of the game.
In Stockholm, Denmark did not get any details against Hungary (40-23). In the main round, the “red-whites” hung by Croatia (32-32) seem unstoppable again. Led by their star, nine-goal right-back Mathias Gidsel, they are gunning for an incredible hat-trick as they have won the last two editions of the World Cup. With this success, the Scandinavians broke the invincibility record they achieved together with France: they have not lost in the world championship for 26 games.
Considered the best goalkeeper on the planet, captain Niklas Landi’s team look more than ever the favorites for the tournament with France. The World Cup final could be a repeat of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, when the Blues win the title against the Scandinavians (25-23).
Five years ago in Rio, the Danes defeated the Habs (28-26) in the final of the Games. Like France-Croatia during the Barjots era, the meetings between France and Denmark are on track to become the most interesting series in international handball. Unless the Swedes decide otherwise in front of their supporters.