Denmark deny France third consecutive gold in men's handball

Denmark denied France a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in men's handball on Sunday, beating the favourites 28-26 on the last day of the Rio Games.

Denmark were in the lead 16-14 by half-time, but had to fight until the end against their French rivals. It is the first-ever Olympic medal in men's handball for Denmark. Their previous best finish had been fourth place in 1984.

"I can't believe it. It's a dream come true. I don't know what to say," Denmark's Casper Mortensen told journalists after the match. "I'm so proud of this team ... This means everything for Denmark."

With the silver finish in Rio, France now have four Olympic medals under their belt, along with the three worlds and two European titles won since the 2008 Games in Beijing.

"I think that we can be very proud of what we achieved," France's Nikola Karabatic said. "I think that we've brought much happiness to our supporters, but unfortunately we won't be able to bring a gold medal back to France."

"I think that we were tired and that's why we lost, basically," he added.

Earlier Sunday, Germany won bronze in the tournament by defeating Poland 31-25.

It was the first Olympic medal for the German handball players since their silver at the 2004 Games in Athens. Their team in Rio de Janeiro was the only one with an average age under 26.

Poland led early in the match, at one point establishing an 8-5 lead. But after Uwe Gensheimer's equalizer to make it 8-8, Germany took control of the match and held a 17-13 lead at half-time.

The Poles tried to catch up in the second half, but were thwarted by a strong performance by German goalie Andreas Wolff. Towards the end, the Germans widened their lead further to clinch the win.

It came after a heartbreaking loss for Germany against France earlier in the tournament.

"After the tough defeat in the semi-finals, when you lose by one goal in the last couple of seconds, it's really hard to stand up," Gensheimer said. "I think we wanted it more than the Polish team."

"First and second place is of course better than bronze," team-mate Fabian Wiede added. "But we're very happy for the medal."

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 22:24
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