15 January 2017
This was planned to be a handball thriller, and a handball thriller it was. In front of a sold-out arena with 10,500 spectators, France beat Norway amid an electric atmosphere.
Nikola’s Karabatic, the MVP of the game, and Kentin Mahe (5 goals for each), were both key pillars in France’s win against Norway. With this win, France are in a very good position to qualify for the eighth-finals and might secure a ticket as soon as tomorrow night, if Poland don’t beat Russia.
Group A: France vs Norway 31:28 (16:12)
In front of an incandescent arena, both teams stayed level for the first ten minutes. The game was physical, with referees forced to give yellow cards quickly.
As time went on, the game turned in France’s favour, who were playing their most physical players. Timothey N’Guessan was especially impressive in the first fifteen minutes, considering tonight was his first game in the tournament. Either scoring or passing, every move he made seem to be decisive and with his second goal, the left back gave France the first gap in of the game (7:4, 14′).
But Norway were not going to give up just yet and as Kent Robin Tonnesen took responsibilities, he helped to level the scoreline, although not for long. Taking advantage of Norway’s two-minute suspensions and of Thierry Omeyer’s saves, Les Bleus made the gap a little bit bigger and went back to the dressing room with a four-goal advantage (16:12).
The break didn’t do Norway much good as Thierry Omeyer didn’t give in much. His teammate Michael Guigou, on his wing, wasn’t missing much and gave France a seven-goal advantage shortly after the start of the second half. Magnus
Magnus Jondal was trying his best, but since Norway’s defense wasn’t solid enough, France didn’t feel too threatened. And to prove it, Didier Dinart took the opportunity to give some time on the court to his substitutes. These boys didn’t let him down, for instance, Nedim Remili, who scored five and showed he could be a good alternative in the back court, while Vincent Gerard put the nail in the coffin in the last few seconds of the game with a couple of brilliant saves. In Norway’s camp, Magnus
In Norway’s camp, Magnus Jondal scored six, just one less than Sander Sagosen, but these individual performances were not enough to prevent France getting their ‘EURO-exit revenge win’.
Michael Guigou (FRA): “The fan’s cheering was impressive as we entered a court and it helped us a lot in our quest for victory. I think that the key was our start, we didn’t give them a chance to believe they could win and even when they came back into the game, Nikola (Karabatic) scored some important goals. This is more than just about one man, though, all the guys played well. I’d say that we passed our first test.”
Ole Erevik (NOR): “I think France were just better than us tonight. We played relatively good, though, we found solutions in attack. We just lacked defensive quickness towards the 50th minute, when we felt France was going slowing a bit physically. Losing tonight is not a drama, though, we’ll just do our best to win the next game.”
Player of the Match presented by adidas: Nikola KARABATIC (FRA)