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France holds off reigning champion Denmark to take men’s handball gold

France holds off reigning champion Denmark to take men’s handball gold
Posted at 7:38 AM, Aug 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-07 14:29:08-04

France held off a frantic comeback by defending gold medalists Denmark for a 25-23 victory in the men’s handball final in Tokyo.

Denmark had a chance to tie the game in regulation, but lost the ball and surrendered an empty-net goal as time expired. The Danes trailed by four points at the half and six points in the second half before staging a furious comeback to close the gap to one goal with 15 seconds left in the game.

"The game was crazy. At the end we thought maybe we're going to lose this medal so there was a lot of pressure. It was intense," France veteran Luka Karabatic said.

The French also won gold at the 2008 and 2012 Games, but went home with silver after losing to Denmark in 2016.

Mikkel Hansen and Matthias Gidsel led the Danes with nine points and six points, respectively.

France spread the scoring out with nine players scoring at least two goals. Nedim Remli led the French with five points.

Hansen finished as the Games' all-time top scorer with 61 - eclipsing South Korean Yoon Kyung-shin's 58 at Athens 2004. But his rare penalty miss in the 25th minute proved costly.

Denmark battled past European title holders Spain on Thursday to book their place in the men's handball final.

Self-named 'Les Experts,' the French men’s team earlier overcame dark horse Egypt 27-23 at the Yoyogi National Stadium to reach their fourth consecutive Olympic final.

"The last couple of years we were always short a game, so I think we had unfinished business," Karabatic said. "It was driving us to work more and give more and that's how we succeeded."

Information from, Reuters was used in this report.

SEE MORE: Spain edges Egypt for men's handball bronze

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