On the final day of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship in Doha, the “Experts” (nickname of the French team) proved again their outstanding skills, experience and will to win.
By ending the winning spree of host Qatar in a high class final, the Frenchmen took their fifth World Championship trophy after 1995, 2001, 2009 and 2001 and currently hold all three major titles at the same time. And for the third time after the World Championship 2009 (in Croatia) and the European Championship 2014 (in Denmark) they beat the hosts’ team in the final.
But Qatar – first ever non-European finalist at a Men’s World Championship – was a high hurdle to cross, fought until the end and was celebrated by thousands of fans in the Lusail Multipurpose Hall during the thrilling match.
Qatar have (in addition to the upcoming host) qualified for the 25th World Championship in France, while the new world champions booked their ticket for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Before, Poland had won the bronze medal after a thrilling extra-time win against dethroned 2013 world champions Spain.
Qatar vs France 22:25 (11:14)
Twenty-five seconds before the final buzzer the French players already jumped on the court and on the bench, knowing that they made it again. When Daniel Narcisse netted in for the final score 70 seconds before the end, the deal was sealed and the strong Qatar resistance was finally broken.
Boosted by Narcisse and top scorer Nikola Karabatic (five goals in total), France started in a brilliant way, forging ahead to a 13:7 lead after only 23 minutes.
But the host did not surrender, showed character – and coach Valero Rivera found the right means to re-adapt the attack match play of the team. In minute 45 the host was close to turn the match around, when Borja Vidal netted in for the 20:21 – but Qatar did not manage to equalise. In contrast, the gap remained at least two goals until the final buzzer.
Qatar’s Danijel Saric won the goalkeeper duel against Thierry Omeyer clearly by 14:9 saves, but his team mates had lost too much power in the previous games to get through the concrete-solid French defence.
Poland vs Spain 29:28 (13:13, 24:24) after extra time
When the final shot of Antonio Garcia was blocked by the defence after 70 minutes, the third Polish World Championship bronze medal after 1982 and 2009 was secured. After a highly thrilling and tight match the extra time needed to bring on the decision though Spain were ahead by 22:18 and just nine minutes on the clock.
A double strike of Polish top scorer Michal Szyba (eight goals) including the final one with the final buzzer sent the game to extra-time, in which the dethroned champions Spain did not lead for a single time.
Right wing Victor Tomas was best Spanish scorer with seven goals – but his strikes and goalkeeper’s Gonzalo Perez de Vargas 15 saves were not enough to award Spain a third consecutive World Championship medal after bronze in 2011 and gold in 2013.
Final ranking of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship:
9. FYRO Macedonia
17. Czech Republic
22. Saudi Arabia