Their competition is the “fashionable” series of women’s handball. On November 18, France and Norway will meet again in the semi-finals of the Euro in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Spain won the revenge of the World Cup final eleven months ago by the Scandinavians (29-22). The confrontation between France and Norway in the final was more expected because these two countries dominate the handball planet, but the Danish selection decided otherwise.
By defeating the Norwegians on Wednesday (31-29), the Danes avoided the tricolors that beat them to the wire in the semi-finals in Catalonia. However, the respective prize lists of Les Bleues and Norge leave no room for doubt: this is indeed the final before the letter that the Arena Stozice audience will attend.
Neither of these two teams has missed out on the continental title since Montenegro’s victory at the European Championship in Serbia in 2012. Winners of the last Euro and the last World Cup, the Norwegians have a record eight European titles. The French, who are Olympic champions in Tokyo in 2021, have won this competition only once, in 2018, and lost once in the final against Norway in 2020.
The French, confident of first place in their group, were able to rotate their squad against Spain (36-23) on Wednesday. Coach Olivier Krumbholz let his bosses rest when colleague Thorir Hergeirsson, who couldn’t rely on such a packed bench, questioned the owners against the Danes.
“They don’t like to play against us”
The clash of styles between France and Norway promises a great match. Like the Swedes and Danes, the Norwegians are known for their attacking play. “Their big strength is their back base. Due to their size, they are very powerful at long range.he explained The world Olivier Krumbholz before the tournament.
Norway has Henny Reistad (23 years old, 1.81 meters), who has scored 17 times from over 9 meters since the start of the Euros. Defender Nora Mork, pivot Vilde Ingstad Mortensen and central midfielder Stine Bredal Oftedal are also among the competition’s top scorers.
“Norwegians have a very excellent team. Ex-international Blandine Dcette, who was kicked out of the courts after her 2021 Olympic title in Tokyo, insists. They have a culture of passing: in a positioned attack, the ball moves quickly with little loss, but they are also brilliant in the passing game because they run fast. Because they also have precise and fast wings, danger can come from anywhere. »
The French team is famous primarily for its defense. “the best in the world”According to Olivier Krumbholz, after the last victory against Montenegro in the main round (27-19), a team still undefeated at the end of the preliminary stage. “The Scandinavians don’t like to play against us because our aggression tires them. It is up to us to question them! »Blues captain Estelle Nze supports Minko.
This priority in defense requires flawless organization and plenty of energy, sometimes at the expense of efficiency in attack. To hope to win the tournament, the Blues will need to fire more regularly than they did at the last Spanish World Cup. In the final against Norway, before halftime, the French were down in the second half. “We had no more oil in the tank”Mr. Krumbholz slips.
France fell to the bone that day. The author keeps eleven, including seven consecutive money time, the goalkeeper Silje Solberg disgusted the French attackers. Béatrice Edwige is still biting her fingers: “It was he who stood at the top of the scales on the Norwegian side! »
An impressive triple at 9 meters
The fate of the meeting on Friday will depend mainly on the duel between the two best goalkeepers in the world. Since the start of the Euro, Kleopâtre Darleux and Silje Solberg have posted almost identical statistics: 42.4% for the French woman, 41% for the Norwegian.
If the Nordics’ defense looks more fragile than Spain’s, France’s game looks more balanced. The relationship between leader Grace Zaadi and pivot Pauletta Foppa remains the backbone of the French team’s game, but the blue machine is no longer a bottleneck when opponents can interfere with their relationship. Wingers Pauline Coatanea, Chloé Valentini and Coralie Lassource respond.
Above all, the Tricolors have a trio of effective shooters from 9 meters in Océane Sercien-Ugolin, Audrey Dembele and Orlane Kanor. With twenty goals, including eleven from the 9-meter line, the last-named is the most prolific French striker.
With a shooting success rate of 65.4% since the start of the competition, France is on par with today’s opponent (64.1%). Lessons from the last World Cup Olivier Krumbholz did everything to ensure his managers reached the finals without using too much of their reserves. Young players coming off the bench lived up to expectations, such as Nantes’ leader Lena Granveau (19), who made her debut against Spain. A good sign in the perspective of the Paris Games for more than six hundred days.