HANDBALL

France beats Denmark for place in world final

France beat the reigning European champions Denmark 27-22 to grab a place in the world final in Croatia. The Olympic champions will face host-country and favourite Croatia.

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AFP - Olympic champions France and hosts Croatia booked their place in the men's world handball championship final after winning semi-finals against Denmark and Poland respectively on Friday.

In Split, France defeated Denmark 27-22, the reigning European champions who struggled from the start to cope with France's aggressive defence.

They kept in touch at 7-7 by the 16th minute, but that was the last time they were on level terms.

The French ended the first half with a 16-11 lead before two scores by Luc Abalo after the interval led the Beijing gold medallists to an 18-11 advantage.

Not even the loss in the final minutes of Abalo, who was penalised for hitting Denmark's goalkeeper Niklas Landen Jacobsen in the head from a penalty throw, was enough to stop the French from taking their place in the final.

In Zagreb, Croatia saw off Poland 29-23 with top player Ivan Cupic scoring 12 goals out of 13 attacks.

Croatian goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic was also impressive, defending 15 hits.

Poland were in touch at half-time, trailing just 14-13, but were unable to maintain their discipline in the second period.

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