Handball: Blues denied seventh heaven by Denmark

The Swedish capital seems to be somehow cursed for French handball. A bad nod to history was already there right next to the Tele 2 Arena, where the French were subjected to Danish law, where the pioneers lost the 1993 World Cup final (against Russia).

A year-and-a-half after winning the Olympic title in Tokyo, the Blues 2023, who are looking for gold and nothing else on Swedish soil, will probably have a different taste on Sunday night against the same Danes (25-23).

But after the 2019 and 2021 titles, the Scandinavians took revenge to make history with a world hat-trick that was never achieved. The Blues have missed the mark twice (in 2009 and 2011, then in 2015 and 2017) under the Experts, who are waiting for their successors on the World Cup roster.

Because apart from the gold bracket in Tokyo, the French team has not won a title since the 2017 World Cup at home. At Euro 2020, Guillaume Gille’s group stepped up alone at the helm following the departure of Didier Dinart. fiasco (first round struggle), he was off the podium at the 2021 World Cup and then at Euro 2022.

He is there this time, but not at the top of Nikola Karabatic’s tenth and final World Cup. At the age of 38, the handball legend started the match despite his still painful left leg.

But he joined the bench after fifteen minutes and witnessed the Danes’ dominance thanks to their passing speed, movement and their trigger trio at the back of Simon Pitlik (9 goals), Matias Gidsel (6) and Rasmus Lauge. (10). The second half was particularly damaged in the second half.

Guards pass

The Blues struggled from the start of the match before gradually improving. In defense and attack, led by Nedim Remili (5 goals at halftime, 6 goals in total) and effective relays like Nikola Karabatic or Valentin Porte instead of Elohim Prandi (3/3), had time to “get closer”. on the wing, causing the passage of the Danish forces (28th).

Trailing slightly (15-16) at halftime, back on top at the restart (16-16), they surrendered around the 45th minute, giving up five goals to just two and trailing 30-26 at the start. minute.

Danish current goalkeeper Niklas Landin, the two-time best player in the world, was expected to be in line, but his replacement Kevin Moller was chosen “on the money”. The goalkeeper made only three saves in the last ten minutes, including a penalty in front of Yannis Lenne (27-30, 55th), then Melvin Richardson (29-32, 58th).

In contrast, the French goalkeepers (4/25 for Vincent Gérard, 3/16 for Remi Desbonnet) never knew how to find a parade against the Danish gunners.

Guillaume Gille’s side, who were defeated by injuries earlier in the tournament (seven withdrawals), will have to wait at least a year to find gold with a hairless left-back position in the finals. It is scheduled for Euro 2024.

Spain bronze. Sweden will miss out on a medal at their co-hosted World Cup after losing 39-36 to Spain in Stockholm on Sunday.

“We will be very bitter”

Nikola Karabatic, centre-half of the French team, on the microphone of TF1:It’s sad that it ended like this. The Danes had a great game. Every time we’ve been back, they’ve been a huge hit. Referee decisions were also in their direction, but that’s how it is, that’s what sport is. Anyway, we fought, we never gave up and we can be proud of what we did. We will still be very bitter.
Title 5 (career world champion) ? That was not my motivation. I wanted to win it, especially with this generation. We experienced great things, we were Olympic champions and we wanted this medal of world champions together. We will use the anger of this defeat as a driving force for the future.
Participate in the 2024 Olympics (France) ? I hope my body will allow me to perform again (he will be 40 years old) and that I will have the level to defend the blue jersey. »

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