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the Blues face multiple Swedish challenges in the semi-finals

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The France team beat Germany in the quarter-finals of the World Handball Championship (35-28) on Wednesday 25, and qualified for the semi-finals, where they will find Sweden, who fell from Egypt, Friday, January 27 at 8 p.m. A match to live in full in the show Europe 1 Sports (every evening from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

The French team arrived this Thursday in the middle of the day on Swedish soil after flying over the Baltic Sea from Gdansk (Poland), where it had ruled out Germany the night before. Meanwhile, the Swedes also climbed into the last four, at home in their capital where they are now waiting for the French.

Towards a seventh world crown?

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“It’s the game when you are the host country, you have advantages. It is sure that it is not ideal in terms of rest days, even if we are not the most to be pitied,” said Nikola Karabatic. With good reason: on the eve of the shifts, it was France that was warm while the Germans were traveling, with one day less rest.

“Did it really show on the pitch? Not in the first half anyway. If we lose (against Sweden), we will complain (about the difference in treatment), if we win, it will be forgotten” thinks Ludovic Fabregas. A victory, and the pivot and his teammates would be only one step away, against Denmark or Spain, from a seventh world crown, six years after the last (at home).

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They would then have finally taken the measure of these Swedes against whom they came up against at this same stage during two of the last three competitions: at the World Cup-2021 (32-26) and at Euro-2022 (34-33). Just a year ago, the Scandinavians finally won this last title to finally succeed the golden generation, double world champion and quadruple European champion between 1990 and 2002.

Sweden without its star

The Blues took over the torch at the top of the world hand less than ten years later (four world titles, two European and three Olympic titles between 2008 and 2021). Even if, precisely, the Olympic gold of Tokyo, a year and a half ago, was inserted between the two defeats against the Swedes, is it time to settle the accounts?

“We don’t have any accounts to settle with anyone, it’s a new competition. It’s up to us to play our best game, we haven’t yet shown our full potential in this competition,” replied veteran Nikola Karabatic, who playing his tenth and last World Cup.


In the absence of accounts, can we speak of a revenge then? Neither, according to Fabregas: “I don’t really like the word revenge because each competition has its history.” That of 2023 will be written in this Tele 2 Arena, an indoor stadium where some 20,000 Swedes will push behind their team. “It’s also for these kinds of matches that we play handball, that we wear the jersey of the France team. We have the ambition to go further”, Fabregas saliva.

Despite a left-back position, already featherless before the competition, which limps low: Thibaud Briet (hand) gave up against the Germans, Nikola Karabatic came out early, his left foot still painful, and Elohim Prandi played diminished (left ankle ).

Sweden already knows that it will have to do without its playing master, Jim Gottfridsson, who dislocated his left index finger against Egypt and announced Thursday “throwing in the towel” for the end. Some may see it as a harbinger in favor of the Blues. He will spend Friday at the reality revealer.

Source: Europe1

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