This Sunday evening, the French handball team went to reveal Spain, the European vice-champion, to complete the group stage of the World Cup. The undefeated and already qualified Blues overcame the obstacle brilliantly in a tense but controlled match (28-26). With this win, they finish at the top of Group I, giving them an auspicious draw for the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
In Krakow, the French, without Nikola Karabatich and Charles Bolzinger, who survived and remained in the stands, made the best start, helped a lot by the very hot hand of Vincent Gerard (39% of saves). A 4-0 chain about a quarter of an hour later, culminating in a great cross from Nicolas Thurna (6-9, 19th) seemed to put them ahead at half-time. But numerous ball losses and a good throw from the Spaniard allowed Roja to win at good time.
The vice-champions of Europe, having returned from the dressing room, took the lead (21-18, 43rd place) thanks to a very productive Daniel Fernandez (man of the match, with seven goals). But Guillaume Gilles’ men, whose timeouts were successful, kept their cool to gain strength (22-22, 46th). Taking advantage of Joan Canellas’s two-minute suspension, they then accelerated even more (26-24, 53rd) and closed the door on defense to secure a symbolically important win.
For the French, the results of this group stage could hardly have been better: they won the sixth victory in so many games played and were able to rotate their squad. The only drawback: the possible loss of the Parisian Elohim Prandi, whose ankle was twisted in a harmless action at the end of the match, and therefore he is not confident in the quarter. In the next round, the Blues will play the loser of the match between Germany and Norway, which will take place on Monday (20:30).