A year ago, France put an end to Sweden's dream of becoming world champion at home by winning in the semi-final (26-31). A defeat which remained in the minds of the Scandinavians, bruised by this failure in front of their Stockholm audience. But this setback is nothing, morally, compared to the one they just suffered this Friday in the semi-finals of the Euro. At the end of a legendary match and an unimaginable scenario, the Blues first outclassed the Swedes, before being trampled in turn, snatching extension with a miracle goal and, finally, losing qualify for the final (34-30) where they will challenge the winner of the other half between Denmark and Germany.
In any case, the Blues could hardly dream of better than this first period which ended with a lead of six lengths (17-11) at the end of a real demonstration of force. However, the first moments of the meeting did not suggest such a festival since Sweden was the first to make the break on the scoreboard (1-3, 3rd). But suddenly, thanks to an impassable Samir Bellahcene in his goal, the light suddenly went out on the Scandinavian side, only to come back on eight minutes later after a magnificent 7-0 from Guillaume Gille's men (10-4, 14th). The title holders then tried to react under the leadership of Felix Claar, in vain. Despite some damaging small losses of the ball, the French did not relax their grip and maintained an extremely interesting lead to return to their locker room with a good dose of confidence and serenity.
Alas, the two were going to evaporate at high speed under the pounding blows of the Swedes who returned to the field with their bit in their teeth. Thus, led by a gala Claar and helped by the errors of the Blues, the Yellow erased their delay in ten minutes flat (18-18), plunging the French from paradise to a hell which it was reasonable to think that they would not were not going to be able to extricate themselves. Because after having been close to the summits for thirty minutes, Guillaume Gille's players no longer put one foot in front of the other in attack. So much so that the Swedes had a foot and a half in the final when Jim Gottfridsson gave his team two goals one minute from the end (25-27). But impossible is not French in handball. Yannis Lenne, first of all, deceived Andreas Palicka (26-27) author of a demonic second period symbolized in particular by three seven-meter throws stopped in succession.
There were then 15 seconds left to play. Swedish timeout. Inexplicably, Gottfridsson committed a walk and returned the ball to the Blues. Logically, the Swedes made the mistake and Elohim Prandi found himself with a free kick to take directly ten meters from the opposing goal, with a wall of more than 2.50m and a hot goalkeeper in front of him. He nevertheless managed to get off axis and send a missile under the helm of a struck Palicka (27-27). The French had just won an incredible overtime, but also the qualification because the Scandinavians were never going to recover from such a scenario, the two extra periods turning into an ordeal for them and a dream for Dylan Nahi, author of three goals in coming off the bench (34-30). A deliverance for some, sleepless nights for others…