Press release
Paris - January 26, 2017

Hosts France storm past Slovenia and into final

In front of 15,609 fans in the sold-out AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France beat Slovenia in the first semi-final of the 25th IHF Men’s Handball World Championship. This win leads Les Experts to their seventh final in pursuit of their sixth World Championship gold – losing only ever one final in 1993 to Russia (28:19).



Slovenia overwhelmed by French defence 

France, the only remaining team on an unbeaten run through the 2017 WCh, took one step closer to the perfect tournament by beating Slovenia 31:25 (15:12) in their semi-final in Paris.  

From the off, the French led finding goals from Ludovic Fabregas early on, the line player scoring two in their initial 4:1 run. Valentin Porte scored two in a row to bring them 9:6 (19’) up, with Jure Dolenec being the only beacon of hope for the Slovenians. A late 4:2 run for the Slovenians narrowed the gap at half-time (15:12). In the second half, the French team tightened their grip once again and with a 4:2 run midway through the half the found themselves 25:19 up. Despite a huge effort from the Slovenian back court the imposing French defensive set up was just too much for the lighter Slovenian outfit, and the French saw out the tie for a comfortable six-goal win. Top scorer for the French team was Nedim Remili with six goals while Jure Dolenec with five netted most for Veselin Vujovic’s young side. 

A combined 26 gold medals in the French camp

The final of the 2017 IHF World Handball Championship will mark French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer’s fifth World Championship final while Michael Guigou, Nikola Karabatic, Daniel Narcisse and Cedric Sorhaindo all play in their fourth gold medal match – all of the above are unbeaten in WCh finals. Coach Didier Dinart will also take part in his fourth final if you include his three finals as a player (2001, 2009 & 2011); co-head coach Guillaume Gille could collect 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 coaches, the figure comes to an amazing 26 gold medals.  

The second semi-final between Croatia and Norway takes place Friday 27 January at 20:45 in the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. Should Croatia make it to the final we will have a remake of the 2009 and 1995 finals both of which France won (24:19 & 23:19). While if Norway are victorious it would be the first time a men’s Norwegian national team has made it to a World Championship final after their women’s team have made it to a total of nine finals (three goals, three silver and three bronze). 

Phenomenal attendance once again 

Another sold-out match at France 2017 means that after tonight’s semi-final the 500,000-spectator mark has been broken, with over half a million handball fans coming to the various arenas in the preliminary round (Metz, Paris, Rouen and Nantes) and final round (Brest, Paris, Lille and Montpellier). That’s simply Phenomenal!

 

Calendar: 
27th January: Semi-final Croatia-Norway (20:45 CET)
28th January: Bronze medal match (20:45 CET)
29th January: Final (17:30 CET)

Register in the press area of the event website: http://www.francehandball2017.com/en/press-room-access/

Pictures free of rights available here 

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