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Date: 1/13/2017

It was by no means a hard day at the office for the 2017 IHF Men’s Handball World Championship hosts as they stormed to a massive win over Japan

In the Parc des Expositions – Hall XXL, Nantes. The reigning World Champions, France had little resistance from their Asian counterparts. A particularly bright spot in Les Experts flawless performance was Ludovic Fabregas (Player of the Match) with his five goals from the line.

GROUP A: Japan vs France 19:31 (9:17)

You might have thought that Japan, after fighting hard for forty minutes yesterday, would be tired but that was definitely not the case. In the first ten minutes, the Asian side managed to stay level with the defending World Champions before taking their foot off the pedal.

Missing too many quick shots in attack, they weren’t able to control French line player Cedric Sorhaindo, who kept winning several seven meters throws. After fifteen minutes, France were up by four (9:5). Just as they claimed they would yesterday, Japan were taking their chance without any second thoughts; the used Masatake Kimura’s saves on seven-meter shots and Kento Uegaki goals to stay in the game.

It was only in the last five minutes of the half that France created the first gap of the game, going into the dressing room with an eight-goal advantage (17:9). The substitutions made by France at half-time didn’t change the course of the game since Japan didn’t manage to score until the 39th minute. At that point, France were already up by twelve and had the fate of the game firmly in their hands (22:10, 39′).

Didier Dinart’s men just had to control the game until the end, and then took the chance to open up and allow some fresh legs in off the bench. William Accambray and Ludovic Fabregas, the MVP of the game, took the opportunity to show what they were capable of, while the Japanese didn’t hesitate to use in-flight goals, much to the fans’ delight.

With a twelve-goals gap, 31:19, France took its second large win of the tournament before facing Norway on Sunday.

Post-match reactions:

Ortega head coach (JPN): “France were better than us today. We played well for the first twenty minutes of the game, but I’m satisfied with the whole game. We wanted to try new things especially in defence, and they gave me satisfaction. We suffered more problems in the attack especially in the middle of the second half. My players were tired, it was our second game in two days and now they need to rest before the next game”.

L. Fabregas (FRA): “This was a game that we wanted to take seriously and we had prepared for accordingly. It took us a little bit of time to adapt to them defence but once we settled, we played quite well. Everybody had the opportunity to play, which in the end, might be important later in the competition. The only negative point tonight is the injury of Luka Karabatic, who is an important player for us”.

Player of the Match presented by adidas: L. Fabregas