Handball World Championship: France to Play for Bronze against Germany

France to fight for Bronze in Handball World Championship

Like last year at the Euro, the France team will try to hang a bronze medal at the Handball  world championship. A consolation prize after the sinking in 1/2 face Denmark.

More than a defeat, a shipwreck : the French were swept by the Danes 38 to 30 , in the semi-finals of the World Handball Championship , Friday 25th January, 2019 in Hamburg, and will be content to fight for bronze, as the last year at the Euro.

For the title, the Danes will face Sunday in Herning (5:30 pm) Norway, which created the surprise by dominating Germany 31 to 25. This will be the second consecutive final of the Norwegians, again on the opponent’s field , two years after their defeat against France in Paris in 2017.

Second failure of rank in 1/2 final

The failure of the Blues confirms their decline in the hierarchy. This is the first time in eleven years that they have been absent from the final in two major competitions in a row (World Cup-2007, Euro-2008). Last year they had lost half in front of Spain.

In the last five major tournaments, they have won one (Mondial-2017) and are no longer holders of any title. Since 2008, they had always been champions of something, and often several at the same time.

More than the defeat itself, inflicted by a very impressive team from Denmark, is the way that strikes. Taken by the throat from the beginning of the match, the French were transparent in defence, the sector that made them win all their titles (11 since 1995).

The defence goes through

After seven minutes, they had already conceded six goals (6-3) and 21 at half-time, almost as much as their average over an entire match so far (23.5). Goalkeeper Cyril Dumoulin made only one save in the first half and Vincent Gerard did not shoot any shots of the whole match.

The Blues have never managed to revive the suspense. The gap from six goals to the break (21-15) climbed to ten in the second half.

Denmark star Mikkel Hansen, the French team's executioner in the semi-finals of the Handball World Cup in Hamburg,
Denmark star Mikkel Hansen, the French team’s executioner in the semi-finals of the Handball World Cup in Hamburg, on January 25, 2019. (© AFP / John MACDOUGALL)

“Mikkel Hansen show”

“It was very difficult to defend against them. When you’re dealing with players who start very quickly and score goals from a distance, it’s tough, “said pivot Luka Karabatic.

The player of the match was, as the Blues feared him, Mikkel Hansen. Exceptional shooting (12 goals, including 4 penalties), the back of Paris SG found great passes as soon as the French tried to climb on him.

“There was a show Mikkel Hansen, which once again showed he was the best player in the world,” commented Dumoulin.

“We missed a bit of accuracy, a little success, a few things. The Danes quickly took the game in hand and by dint of rigor they buried us little by little.”

No holder, Nikola Karabatic only played 11 minutes. “Nikola is part of the rotation. There is not necessarily to ask questions, “said the coach Didier Dinart.

Bronze against Germany

Champions in 2015 and 2017, the French were looking to succeed in the first hat-trick at the World Cup. They fail by suffering perhaps the most stinging defeat since France has established itself as the dominant power of the sport (2 Olympic titles, 4 world and 2 European since 2008).

“Maybe we have a bad habit (people), we think that the French team must be on the podium at the top step and that other nations do not prepare and do not play handball”, said Dinart.

The Blues miss the opportunity to qualify directly for the Tokyo Games (you had to win gold). They will have to go through an Olympic qualification tournament in April 2020, unless they are European champions next January (or second if the future world champion also wins the European title).

They will now have to remobilise to try to win the bronze medal, as last year (against Denmark!), Sunday in Herning (14:30) against Germany.

France outclassed by Denmark in the semifinals of the Handball World Cup in Hamburg
The disappointment of Mathieu Grébile and the Blues outclassed by Denmark in the semifinals of the Handball World Cup in Hamburg on 25 January 2019. (© AFP / Patrik STOLLARZ)

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