Gold medalist at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, the French team won their ticket to the semi-finals of the women’s handball world championship, by dominating Sweden (31-26), Wednesday, December 15.
On paper, the match promised speed and physicality between two teams with very different skills. On the one hand, a very powerful Swedish attack, led by Nathalie Hagman, the tournament’s top scorer, and on the other a French defense broken in the exercise of choppy matches. “These are games that usually take place and end in the last 10 minutes,” had prophesied the coach of the Bleues Olivier Krumbhloz.
“But personally I have never lost against Sweden and I hope that will continue “. There too, he was not mistaken. But the victory was acquired on the wire after a very close battle.
The Habs defense, usually very efficient, struggled against the very fast Nordic players. Nathalie Hagman was the detonator of the match. Top scorer of the tournament, the Swede blew the French nets eight times in the first period (9 in all). Fearsome at 7m (10th-14th-18th), the Nantes player was insatiable.
No fault was allowed in this match where the Swedes were inflexible. Olivier’s players Krumbholz have however missed a few opportunities. No more than two points difference separated the two formations on the first half, offering a perfect equality at the break (15-15).
First period of this very harsh quarter between the French and the Swedes. We will have to fight to the end to enter the last square!
– French Handball teams (@FRAHandball) December 15, 2021
It was in an unbreathable atmosphere that the French women returned to the Granollers enclosure in Spain. Led by the captains Allison Pineau, Grâce Zaadi and Béatrice Edwige, the Blue widened a first gap in the 37th minute (20-17). Five points separated the Habs from the Swedes in the 42nd minute, after a goal scored at long distance by goalkeeper Cléopatre Darleux. The French were able to find the spaces, offering a shooting festival.
Returning to three points in the last ten minutes of play (29-26), the Swedes showed a real intensity of play until the last seconds. What remind the players of the Olympic Games in Tokyo where France and Sweden had met twice. In the group stage, the two nations had left on a perfect equality (28-28) before France won in the semi-final (29-27).
The French, reigning Olympic champions, were able to share their experience to maintain their lead. They now have an appointment in the semi-finals, Friday, December 17, against Denmark, striker of Brazil.