It will be, Sunday, December 18, live on TF1. From 5.30 p.m., the French handball players, reigning Olympic champions, will face Norway in the 2021 World Cup final. A poster in the form of “Revenge” afterEuro-2020, “Lost by two goals”, commented the pivot of the Blue Pauletta Foppa, at theAFP. “It’s going to be a very exciting game, with style opposition. It’s a very difficult team to beat ”, warned the coach of the France team, Olivier Krumbholz.
The French climbed to the final at the end of a semi-final full of suspense, against Denmark (23-22) on Friday 17th, and find themselves above all, now, in a match of an exceptional double, a little more than four months after the coronation of Tokyo. Only the Danes (1996) and the Norwegians (2008) managed to achieve such a feat in the past (a double JO-Euro at the time).
Handball: the Blue are really on the attack before the semi-final of the World Cup
A complicated meeting
In the semi-final, in a very complicated meeting against a Scandinavian defense very well in place, the Blue made a very large part of the semi-final behind in the score, penalized by loss of ball (ten in the first thirty minutes ) and a failed attack on Althea Reinhardt, the Danish goalkeeper. “We had to go get that one, we had to be patient, hang on when we weren’t very good, avoid letting them go with a score that would not have been overtaken”, recognized Olivier Krumbholz.
Led by four goals several times in the first period (8-4, 16th, 10-6, 20e) then in the second period (18-14, 41e), the French took a long time to find the loophole, and it was finally on a tactical choice of a staged defense with Estelle Nze Minko in an advanced position that they put doubt in the head of the Danish attack.
The French came back to score at that point, just after having negotiated a double numerical advantage rather badly. It was then that the team’s key players, Grâce Zaadi, Estelle Nze Minko and Pauletta Foppa accelerated to return to a tie (20-20, 51st). Althea Reinhardt, perfect in her cages so far, gave way to Sandra Toft in the last ten minutes. And the Brest goalkeeper kept her team in the fight, at a time when the French were taking over.
A victory “to the mind”
It was finally the Brestoise Alicia Toublanc, on her right wing, who gave the advantage at the start of the last five minutes (22-21), not to let the Danes come back in front. Toft’s parry on a counterattack from Coralie Lassource only delayed the fatal deadline for the Danes, who are setting a date for the future.
Cleopatra Darleux, coming into play for the second half, defeated left winger Laerke Pedersen and sealed the victory at the end of the suspense, while the tricolor wall had to provide a last effort, on a free kick after the buzzer, before letting his joy burst.
“We went looking for her with the guts, with the mind. We did not play our best game of the competition, but the result is there, we are in the final. It is the most important “, rejoiced Coralie Lassource.
In the final against Norway, it will be a different story: “If we do not find the quality of the game, it will be very difficult”, has already warned, Saturday 18, the coach.