After dominating for nearly half an hour, the French handball players collapsed in the World Cup final (29 to 22) on Sunday, December 19 against Norway, but returned to France with a new medal around their neck, the seventh in the of the last eight competitions.
The opportunity to mark the history of their sport a little more was a good one for Coralie Lassource’s teammates. They had the opportunity to achieve a very rare international double in the space of just over four months, after winning Olympic gold in Tokyo by beating Russia in the final.
→ CONTEXT. Handball, the Blue in the final to enter the legend
But to imitate the Danes (1996) and the Norwegians (2008), the only ones who have achieved such a feat in the past (at the time, it was a JO-Euro double), they will unfortunately need try their luck another time.
“ I don’t know if this will haunt us for long. I know that for the moment, we are disappointed. We expected better, especially given our first half. It’s the law of sport, there is a winner, there is a loser, that’s how it is », Commented Captain Coralie Lassource. ” Hot, it’s complicated to be satisfied with this medal. “
The scenario of the final will leave eternal regrets to the players of Olivier Krumbholz, because they achieved an almost perfect first part of the match. Almost only, because after having led 16-10 (28th), they messed up at the end of the half: a temporary exclusion for Méline Nocandy, a lack of change for Lucie Granier, a time out while Laura Flippes was leaving register the 17-10, and a big fault from Estelle Nze Minko.
These errors allowed Norway to regain hope (16-12, 30th). And the return of the locker room was fatal to the Blue who conceded a 7-2 impossible to reverse, with too many failures on the gate Silje Solberg, imperial (12 stops at 50%).
” There is a lot, a lot of disappointment to come out of this tournament this way, having played 30 minutes. We are a little frustrated. We do not spit on the silver medal, but we would have liked to finish in style, we have had a good run so far “, Considers the half-center of the Blue, Grâce Zaadi.
Finishing a tournament on a setback always leaves a taste of unfinished business, when gold seemed close at hand. The defeat against Norway should not, however, make us forget the extraordinary series of the French in recent years.
Seven out of eight possible medals
Aside from the failure of the 2019 World Cup in Japan (elimination from the first round), Olivier Krumbholz’s players have always reached the last four since the Rio Games in 2016. They brought back seven medals out of eight possible, climbed six times in the final and have won three titles (World Cup 2017, Euro 2018 and Tokyo Games in 2021).
Even the “Experts”, their male counterparts who dominated the male hand planet from 2008 to 2017, had not experienced such regularity. The gang at Nikola Karabatic had climbed “only” on six podiums, however all of them gold, in the first eight competitions of their absolute reign.
This 2021 World Cup was only supposed to be the first of three stages which should lead the French to the Olympic Games at home in 2024 (in the huge Pierre-Mauroy stadium with 27,000 seats in Lille). But despite the physical and psychological fatigue following the coronation in Tokyo, they found the resources to climb again to the final.