France make it to the final match of the 23rd IHF Women’s Handball World Championships take place at 5:30pm on 17th December in Hamburg, Germany.
It was a thrilling finish to the second semi-final of the night in Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg, as France took an equal score of 22:22 with 90 seconds left on the clock to a two-goal score line in the favour at the final buzzer. In a game where the lead changed hands during the first 50 minutes, before a level end, France proved the stronger side thanks to a faster pace on counter attacks, another superb performance from goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud (40%), and more structured attack.
While Sweden had some bright moments, including a 6:1 run through the last seven minutes of the first half that earned the EHF EURO 2014 bronze medallists a one-goal lead at the break, France were more composed in the crucial moments before the buzzer. France returned from half-time stronger, taking a 19:15 lead by the 45th minute before Sweden came back with four consecutive goals. 2009 World Handball Player of the Year Pineau showed her experience as she scored three important goals in the last 10 minutes, including the equaliser in the 56th and the strike that pulled France in front to 23:22.
After Sweden lost the ball on their second last attack, right wing Blandine Dancette scored the game-winning goal, and Amandine Leynaud saved the final shot to secure the victory.
“We are very disappointed. It was a very hard game. We knew their defence is the best in the world, and the things that passed their defence…Leynaud was in the way,” said Sweden centre back Isabelle Gullden. “In the end you could see their experienced players.” (IHF, 2017)
Who will take home the Gold medal?