ZAGREB – The French national handball team secured the bronze medal in the European handball championship in Croatia on Sunday, defeating Denmark 32-29 in a match that proved the squad’s mental fortitude, despite the unexpected disappointment of not vying for the title.
Nikola Karabatic, after his lackluster performance in the semifinals against Spain, led the French offense on Sunday, but the Paris Saint Germain star was also a key element in the French defense, thus definitively contributing to the victory by Didier Dinart’s squad.
The French defense, however, didn’t manage to get going until almost midway through the first half, with the Danes going ahead by 8-10 at one point before the French managed to find their stride.
France was out in front 17-14 at the half, and managed to maintain that lead through the end of the match.
Both France – the reigning world champions – and Denmark had been favored to face off in the final, but both teams were knocked out of the semifinals on Friday as Spain defeated the French 27-23 and Sweden snuck by Denmark, the Olympic title holders, 35-34 in extra time.
Spain and Sweden will go up against one another in the final later on Sunday at the Zagreb Arena.