France record best-ever start with win over the Netherlands

20221106 AH 3577 2 EHF / Adrian Costeiu

France secured their third win in a row at the EHF EURO 2022, 26:24, against the Netherlands, progressing to the main round with four points, after their best-ever start of the competition, three wins and a +26-goal difference.

The Netherlands have also progressed to the next round, but will start Group II of the main round with only two points, with their path to the semi-finals looking more difficult now.


France vs Netherlands 26:24 (14:12)

  • for the second time in history, France ended the preliminary round with three wins out of three games, after having recorded three wins on the trot in 2014, but with an inferior goal difference
  • France’s hero was goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux, who had an outstanding outing, with 14 saves for a 45% saving efficiency, improving her overall efficiency in the tournament to 46.77%
  • Dutch right wing Angela Malestein recorded her best-ever game at the EHF EURO, scoring nine goals out of the ten shots she had, after scoring only seven goals in the first two matches
  • scoring four of the five shots she had in the match, France’s line player, Pauletta Foppa, was named the Player of the Match, after featuring for 56 minutes and five seconds, with an excellent defensive performance
  • France will now start the main round with four points, as many as Montenegro, who are coming from Group D, while the Netherlands are due to start the main round with two points

France pull no punches to progress with four points

It was always going to be about the defences and how they react, as France and the Netherlands conceded the lowest number of goals in the first two rounds, when they played against North Macedonia and Romania. But the reigning Olympic champions got the upper hand, taking the lead early and never looking back, as Per Johansson’s side never took the lead in the game.

It was once again a question of how tough France is and the Dutch side found out themselves in the last minutes, scoring only three times in the last 12 minutes, with Cleopatre Darleux in superb form, being an unstoppable force between the goalposts.

France, who were earmarked as one of the favourites of the tournament by all their opponents, have proven once again how strong they are, as they are the only side not to have conceded 60 goals, stopping at 59 goals after the first three matches.

Estavana Polman, centre back of the Netherlands: “We knew how good they are, but we always tried to come back in the match, we managed it a few times, but eventually we lost. They are a very good team, with one of the best defences, if not the best defence, in handball right now. So it was always difficult to play such a physical game, but it was close.”

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