Defending champion Denmark and record champion France fight for the crown at the Handball World Championship. The gold winner of 2019 and 2021 qualified for the final on Sunday in Stockholm with a 26:23 (15:10) against the European Championship runners-up Spain.

In the second semi-final, Olympic champion and six-time world champion France defeated European champion Sweden 31:26 (16:12) and thus destroyed the title dreams of the co-host.

In front of 19,128 fans in the Stockholm Arena, the Équipe Tricolore, where the German team had already failed in the quarter-finals, impressively demonstrated their class. Unimpressed by the noisy crowd, coach Guillaume Gille’s team opened up a four-goal lead in the final stages of the first half and did not allow the Swedes, who were sorely missing injured playmaker Jim Gottfridsson, to come close.

Strong Danes

In the semi-final between Denmark and Spain, which was led by German referees Robert Schulze and Tobias Tönnies, the defending champions were the better team for a long time. With a 4-0 run in the final minutes of the first half, the Danes, where Simon Pytlick was the top scorer with six goals, created what appeared to be a reassuring cushion at the break.

Even after the change, everything initially went according to plan. With 20 minutes remaining, the five-goal lead continued. But then the team of former Bundesliga coach Nikolaj Jacobsen failed to score for almost nine minutes. The Spaniards – European champions in 2018 and 2020 – took advantage of the weak phase and came within a goal.

In the final phase, however, the Danes tightened up again and scored four times in a row – the preliminary decision. The Spaniards, who eliminated Norway in a dramatic quarter-final after two extra hours, did not give up. However, the last chance of a turnaround was thwarted by Denmark’s goalkeeper Magnus Landin from the German record champions THW Kiel, who saved a seven-meter penalty in the final minute when the score was 25:23.