FINAL: France vs Norway live coverage (recap)


29 January 2017

Welcome to the (re-)LIVE coverage of France vs Norway that took place on January 29th for the final of the 25th IHF Men’s Handball World Champions in Paris, France.

This gold in the 2017 IHF World Handball Championship is the French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer’s fifth World Championship final while Michael Guigou, Nikola Karabatic, Daniel Narcisse and Cedric Sorhaindo all take their fourth gold medal match – all of the above are still unbeaten in WCh finals. Coach Dider Dinart also takes his fourth medal if you include his three finals as a player (2001, 2009 & 2011); co-head coach Guillame Gille collects his third gold after the 2001 and 2009 finals. In total when you combine all the World Championship medals of the current French squad including the two coaches, the figure comes to an amazing 44 gold medals. While this is Norway’s first ever medal after finishing fourth at the EHF EURO 2016.

Your MVP: Nikola Karabatic. With his 31 goals and 42 assists, he was there when it really counted like in today’s second half. This is his second MVP award, his first WCh MVP award was in 2011.


Here you have your All-star team of France 2017! Not much arguing with that…


Nice moment here between Luka (injured) and brother Nikola Karabatic…

Well, there you have it folks…

Full-time – France 33 Norway 26
It only took one or two things to put Norway off their game and the last second goal of the first half really seemed to swing the momentum in Les Experts favour. That and Dinart sorting out the defensive issues at half-time. A masterful performance in the second half and being in the stadium one cannot help think the 15,609 fans packed into the AccorHotels Arena also had an influence on the game. It was the perfect balance between youth and experience that won France this game and France 2017, and it was not for the lack of talent that Norway lost but for the lack of experience and guidance when their backs were against the wall. Hats off to France: Les Experts indeed!

50′ – France 29 Norway 23
Norway settled somewhat around the 45′ mark but were still making silly mistakes which France smartly capitalised on. If it wasn’t for Bergerud in the Norway goal, they could be a further two or three goals down. The Scandinavian side seem to have lost their zip that they had in the first half, while France are really getting into their stride. Fabregas and Sorhaindo both looking good on the line – awesome substitution due.

40′ – France 24 Norway 19
If there were ever ten minutes in handball to show you the difference between raw talent and talent with reams of experience, it was the opening first ten minutes of this second half. Norway came out looking like they were chasing the game with Sagosen throwing the ball directly at the keeper twice and out over the sideline. While France went on a 6:1 run in the opening six minutes; Guigou with a hattrick.

Half-time social update…

Atlético Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is in the house!

This first half is the second highest scoring first half of a men’s WCh final. Only Germany vs Croatia in 2003 was higher 20:18…

Half-time – France 18 Norway 17:
I don’t think anyone expected Norway’s defence to be this compact. They really caused France real trouble when moving forward for the majority of the first 30. Furthermore, Norway are the ones who looked to be more free-flowing in attack. Reverse roles? The big question is going to be if they can keep up this tempo in the second half; experience could be a huge factor in the second 30 minutes. Norway were two to three up for large parts and pulled it level thanks to Mahe goal on the back of a Gerard save in the French goal. Right at the end, France went one goal up with a last-second rocket from Porte.

Man of the first half: Espen Lie Hansen

20′ – France 11 Norway 13
Hansen and Tonnensen are really on fire eight goals (four each) between them in the opening 20 mins! Both men unleashing rockets causing Gerard to replace Omeyer in goal for France. France are having trouble from the 7-meter spot having missed two penalties. Bergerud is having another stormer in the Norway goal.

10′ – France 5 Norway 6
A totally rip-roaring start by both sides with them on level pegging in the opening 10 mins. Hansen and Tonnensen with the firepower from the backcourt. France’s attack looks slightly more laboured but effective with Fabregas and Karabatic winning penalties.

Espen Lie Hansen gets the scoring of the final underway! 1:0 Norway!

FULL HOUSE! We are ready to roll here! Let’s go!


FACT: France are the fifth host since 2007 to make it to the final of a Men’s World Championship: 2007: Germany (gold); 2009: Croatia (silver); 2011 (not Sweden, as they lost their semi against France); 2013: Spain (gold); 2015: Qatar (silver); 2017: France

And the reigning world champs: France!
Norway’s line up!


FACT: France have an eight-game winning streak against Norway on home soil. The last win for Norway against France in their own country dates back 22 years (December 1994) – older than their current star Sander Sagosen (21)

Not long now until the two best teams in the world face off for goal (17:30 CET)! Place starting to fill up. Tonight’s match will, of course, again be sold out!

A nice shot of the trophy passing the Eiffel Tower!

Fans starting to arrive in the AccorHotels Arena!

The AccorHotels Arena is ready to rock! Check out some action from behind the scenes – some shots of the final training, last bits of prep and from the closing press conference earlier this morning…

 arrive at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris and head to the dressing room. Pictures to come…

The trophy is en route and it will arrive in style via a cruise down the seine to the AccorHotels Arena, Paris…

FACT: This final will be the 50th tie between the two sides. Taking in all major competitions and friendlies into consideration, the balance stands currently at 29 wins for France, three draws and 18 wins for Norway

: Will it be France for their sixth title or Norway for their first? Check out Les Experts’ France 2017 highlights up until now right HERE! Or have a look back at the last time Norway toppled France at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, check out the highlights HERE!

EHF Champions League commentator, Chris O’Reilly, is ready for the final. Interesting view on MVP old guard Karabatic with young gun and potential France 2017 MVP hot on his heels. Hard to believe that these two will both be wearing the colours of PSG next season, powerful!

A look back at France’s rest day yesterday (in French). The extra day’s rest could prove key for Les Experts

Hot-shot Sander Sagosen posted this graphic on his Instagram of him and Norway goalkeeper Bergerud. Both men have put in some huge performances in the group and knock-out stage and are seen to have been the pillars in a lot of Norway’s wins. Can they do it all again tonight?

– #final #håndballgutta

A photo posted by Sander Sagosen (@sandersagosen) on

With throw-off to the 2017 IHF Men’s Handball World Championship not far away here is what time everything will get underway in your part of the world…

IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa spoke at the closing press conference of France 2017: “Seeing handball on the front page of newspapers here in France is almost like a form of revolution.” It was also confirmed that 539,943 spectators were the 84 games; a total of 23 games were sold out!

France and Norway both have their rendezvous with history in Paris. Les Experts looking to take their sixth world title from seven finals, while Norway are in their very first final.

For many France are the clear favourites check out our experts view HERE. And here are what their opponents have to say…

LIVE Build-up for France vs Norway, let’s go…!