REVIEW: Denmark have won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, beating defending champions France 28:26 in the final on Sunday. Germany won bronze with a 31:25 win against Poland
Denmark dethrone defending champions France at Rio 2016
Another chapter has been added to the long list of final encounters between Denmark and France, with Denmark beating the defending champions 28:26 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medal match on Sunday.
Not only was it the first men's handball medal for the Scandinavian nation, it was also the first time they beat France in a major international championship final after they had lost to France at the World Championships 2009 (27:22) and 2011 (37:35) as well as at the EHF EURO 2014 (41:32).
Bronze went to Germany who beat Poland 31:25 in the match for third place. It was the first Olympic handball medal for Germany since they won silver at the Athens 2004 Games.
Denmark's win ended France's eight-year long Olympic reign. France had won the 2008 Games with a 28:23 against Iceland and had beaten Sweden 22:21 in the 2012 final.
Outstanding player in the Danish team in the final was left back Mikkel Hansen who scored eight goals and was eventually awarded the men's handball tournament's MVP and best left back.
Denmark had taken an 18:16 lead into the half-time break and while France tried hard to turn the match around in the second half, they only got within one goal on a couple of occasions but never enjoyed a lead again.
When Mads Mensah Larsen scored for 28:25 with 33 seconds left on the clock, the deal was sealed for Denmark and the gold medal bagged beyond doubt.
In the match for third place Germany showed stronger determination and more will power to secure bronze after both teams had to cope with overcoming Friday's bitter semi-final defeats.
Germany bounced back from an 8:5 deficit early in the first half to take a 17:13 lead into the break. They then also controlled the second half and eventually celebrated a derserved win.
Besides Mikkel Hansen, gold medallists Denmark had two more players in the tournament's All-star team: Niklas Landin was named best goalkeeper and Lasse Svan best right wing.
There were also three French players in the team, with Nikola Karabatic being named best centre back, Valentin Porte as best right back and Cedric Sorhaindo as best line player.
Germany's Uwe Gensheimer was named best left wing and Poland's Karol Bielecki became the top scorer with 55 goals.
TEXT: EHF / ts