REVIEW: The French men's national team is one step closer to winning the World Championship 2017 on home ground following a 31:25 win against Slovenia in the semi-final on Thursday
France reach World Championship Final
France are only one win away from a record sixth World Championship title after they beat Slovenia 31:25 in the semi-final of France 2017 on Thursday night in front of more than 15,000 fans in the sold-out Accor Hotels Arena in Paris.
Their opponent will be known late on Friday night when Croatia face Norway in the tournament's second semi-final.
"We had a good game, we were very concentrated. We’re feeling this popular movement for handball, in Paris, Lille, Nantes. This is phenomenal. We’re feeling there is something big happening,” said France's top star Nikola Karabatic.
For France it is the seventh time they have reached the final of a World Championship, winning the competition in 1995, 2001, 2009, 2011 and 2015. In fact, the only time they lost a final was in 1993, 28:19 against Russia.
Top scorer for France against Slovenia was Nedim Remili with six goals, while right back Jure Dolenec netted five times for Slovenia.
France quickly took control of the game and already led 6:2 after 10 minutes of play. They stood so strong in defence at that stage that Slovenia could not even exploit two consecutive two-minute suspensions given to Ludovic Fabregas and Adrien Dipanda in the scope of just 22 seconds in the ninth minute.
Slovenia were back in the game though at 7:6 for France after 16 minutes, however five goalless minutes from Slovenia allowed France to lead 9:6 again and eventually take a 15:12 lead into the half-time break.
In the second half, the tournament hosts never allowed Slovenia to get any closer than two goals and had virtually won the game when they led 27:21 with less than nine minutes left to play.
“We left our emotions off the court. We’ve started the match very seriously and focused on our goal. And that’s the way you need to always start a game, otherwise you become submerged in the emotion of the whole thing and end up not playing well," said Karabatic.
Should Croatia make it to the final this Friday, there will be a re-match of the 2009 and 1995 finals which were both won by France (24:19 & 23:19). If Norway win tonight, it will mark the first time they reach the World Championship Final.
Photos: France 2017 Handball
TEXT: EHF / ts
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