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Date: 8/20/2017

France became the Youth world champions after a superb trophy match, completing their victorious run through the 2017 IHF Men’s Youth (U19) World Championship with a 28:25 victory against Spain. The Georgia 2017 title is France’s second consecutive Men’s Youth world title after they won their first in 2015, as well as the nation’s second Men’s World Championship gold medal of the year following their record victory at the senior event in January.  

Final: Spain vs France 25:28 (13:12)

Spain held a narrow edge through the opening of what was immediately a level game, as they scored first and always left France to equalise – which the defending champions did. Spain’s attack encountered significant trouble moving the ball around the back court due to France’s tactical 5-1 defence, while at the other end of the court Georgia 2017 MVP Kyllian Villeminot was the stand-out for his side. 

Midway through the half the score was level at 6:6 with four of France’s goals from Villeminot at that point, before his team moved ahead to a two-goal advantage that goalkeeper Valentin Kieffer protected when he saved a penalty shot in the 18th minute. As the last five minutes of the period began Spain goalkeeper Kilian Ramirez made a save off a difficult wing shot and his team used the opportunity to take the lead at 11:10. 

After Spain created a two-goal advantage at 12:10, Quintin used his first time-out, and France closed the gap to one before the break to promise an exciting second half. Villeminot finished the first period with six goals from six shots, and when Spain coach Alberto Suarez called a time-out as France pulled ahead to 18:16 in minute 41, the centre back tallied a perfect nine goals. The time-out seemed only to help France however, as they tightened their hold with a score of 20:16 that caused Suarez to use his last time-out of the match only two minutes later. 

Spain changed keeper to bring in Adrian Torres, who made his mark early when he saved a penalty off Villeminot, before his counterpart Valentin Kieffer stopped two consecutive shots on what should have been easy chances. 

As the last quarter of the match began the score board showed a 21:17 lead for France – then with three goals within three minutes Spain came creeping back. Inside the last 10 minutes France worked hard to hold on to a one-goal advantage, but they could not and Spain equalised at 23:23 in the 54th. France continued to score first as Spain responded, and the clock ticked toward the final buzzer with tension high. 

Right wing Benjamin Richert took France in front by a crucial two goals with just over two minutes remaining (26:24), and they held the same distance as the last 60 seconds began. Spain were pulled up for an incorrect substitution, and Villeminot scored his 13th goal in the next attack – sealing the victory for France with less than 30 seconds on the clock. 

“Yesterday [in the semi-final] I was disappointed in my game, and today I was on fire – it was crazy. It was a very good game for me,” said Villeminot. “I am very happy and really proud for the victory of the team. That is the most important for me, more than my title of MVP.”

Player of the Match: Kyllian VILLEMINOT (FRA), Pol VALERA (ESP)