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Olympic champions through to last eight

08 Dec. 2023

Olympic champions through to last eight

Despite coach Olivier Krumbholz making a number of changes to the squad, France breezed past Asian champions Republic of Korea with a double-digit win to become the first team at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship to qualify through to the quarter-finals. 

Main Round, Group II
Republic of Korea vs France 22:32 (12:17)

After missing the last two games, right back Laura Flippes returned to action for France in Norway, part of a side with a number of new faces appearing at this level with coach Krumbholz using the opportunity to rest key players Pauletta Foppa, and goalkeeper Hatadou Sako.

In their place were two players making their IHF Women’s World Championship debuts for France with goalkeeper Camille Depuiset playing the second half, eventually making five saves, alongside line player Onacia Ondono, who ended up with four goals.

Such is the depth in quality of his side and the almost guaranteed progression of his side ahead of this clash, Krumbholz would not have been worried with his side 3:0 down after five minutes.

And he did not need to worry as it took just another five minutes for his side themselves to go three ahead (6:3, 10th minute) with the Olympic champions then taking the rest of the half to extend their lead to five (17:12 at the break).

By the 50th minute Korea were only able to add five more goals to their total and despite the lack of strikes from both sides (France only scored eight in the same period to make it 25:17), the game was entertaining, the only negative in this period for France the red card for another new face, Sarah Bouktit, for a hand to the face when defending.

“It was a good game for us, we were very serious,” said Krumbholz following the match. “It was not an amazing performance but we were strong. (We’re in) a good way.”

His opposite number, Henrik Signell, tried to take the positives from the game.

“We knew before it would be very tough one,” said the Swede. “At the moment, we can’t really compete or compare with the France team so we had other focus and other goals during the match.

“We fought for 60 minutes. It’s quite clear that we are improving all the time and we need these kind of matches as to play in Asia it is very different.”

“We played against one of the best teams in the world but I am personally not satisfied with our performance today,” added Korea’s Woo Bitna. “I am very satisfied with our defence [but] there were many mistakes in our offence. I was not happy with this.”

hummel Player of the Match: Chloe Valentini (France)