After a succession of games with more than 30 goals, France was held to 13 goals in the first half and 27 total in Thursday's semifinal, finally pulling away with stifling defense of its own in the second half to beat Egypt 27-23.
Hugo Descat and Dika Mem each had five goals in the match, the latter heating up down the stretch after missing some shots earlier.
France, which won gold in 2008 and 2012 and added silver in 2016, will face either Spain or Denmark in the final. Denmark is the defending gold medalist and has won the last two world championships. France beat Spain 36-31 in group play.
Earlier this year, France missed out on the podium in the world championships, held in Egypt.
Defending world and Olympic champions Denmark advanced to the gold-medal game in men’s handball on Thursday with a 27-23 semifinal win over Spain.
Left back Mikkel Hansen led Denmark with 12 goals.
The Danes charged into the semi-finals with a 31-25 win over Norway on Tuesday. They will face France for the gold medal.