the fourth time in history after 1999, 2003 and 2009 France reached the final
of a Women’s World Championship. They beat Denmark 28:23 in the first semi in
Sao Paulo and will now wait to know their opponent for the battle of the title.
Norway will face Spain in the second semi. France lost playmaker Alison Pineau
due to a knee injury – it is not known yet, if she will be able to play in the
final. Match winner was ten times goal scorer Alexandra Lacrabere.
France – Denmark 28:23 (14:12)
were dancing on the field, celebrating on the floor and clapping their hands:
France is the well-deserved first finalist of the XX Women's World
expected, this clash of European and World top nations was a real tight battle
during the first half. Both teams fought hard in defence, including strong
goalkeepers Christine Pedersen (Denmark) and Amandine Leynaud (France). Thanks
to the back court hammers of Line Jörgensen (five goals before the break) and
Trine Troelsen, Denmark had the stronger start into the match and led 7:4 in
the second minute: Former World Handball Player Alison Pineau had to be carried
from the field with a severe knee injury and did not return anymore.
after a time-out of coach Olivier Krumbholz, France woke up, scored three
straight goals and took the lead at 9:8. Then Alexandra Lacrabere had her high
flyer: Scoring the last four French goals before the break and the first in the
second half, her team extended the gap to 15:12 – the first three goal lead in
the entire match, followed by the 16:12.
reasons were clear: The French defence put enormous pressure on the Danish
attackers, causing confusion and mistakes in the Northern European team. Aside
goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux stood strong. Like in the quarter-final against
Russia the French wall was the key to success in this stage of the match. And
due to a double strike of Marie Paule Gnabouyou France even extended the gap to
six goals at the score of 20:14 in minute 40.
as in the placement match before, nothing was decided in the middle of the
second half: Denmark reduced the margin to 20:18, followed by a time-out of the
French coach Krumbholz. His team had lost its rhythm, and like in the first
part of halftime one the Danish back court shooters hammered the balls into the
French net. Getting more confidence by those goals, the Danes also improved
match was on eye level again – still with advantages for the French team that
kept their lead at two or three goals. But in contrast to the opening period of
the second half it was no easy-going anymore. Denmark was close to equalize,
but made too many mistakes in the decisive actions. But also France missed an
early decision, failing often against Pedersen or causing technical mistakes in
the final stage.
minutes left on the scoreboard and after another Danish time-out the score was
24:22 for France, as Amelie Goudjo hit the net tor the next three goals margin
– and Denmark became too hectic in attack knowing the time was running from
their hands. So the French fans started their “Allez les Bleus” celebrating the
qualification for the final, finally secured by the tenth goal of Lacrabere to
Statements after the match:
Jensen, assistant coach Denmark: France made a real good match. We knew that it
would be hard to resist, as it was a match David versus Goliath. If we would
have wanted to win, we would have needed our highest level. But today France
was too good for us. They are currently the best team in the world.
Krumbholz, coach France: Like in every match the defence was the key to win.
But we are happy and sad at the same time, as our key player Alison Pineau is
out for the final and is maybe even out of the Olympics. Her injury will make
it really difficult for us in the final, in which we are no favourite, no
matter what the opponent will be. But my team – which now have to miss the two
top players Pineau and Mariama Signate, showed again a great behavior and
passion. But in the final we have to cope with the injury of Pineau with
Larsen,player Denmark: We are really disappointed and sad, as we were close to
the final. But France was too strong, so I wish them good luck in the final.
Gudjo, player France: We feel such a big happiness after three severe injuries
in only one week. It was a victory of the collective and a victory for our fans
and whole France.