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Olympic Games

France seal famous double gold at Tokyo 2020

Jamie Whittington

After France’s men’s team won Olympic gold on Saturday at Tokyo 2020, France’s women’s team beat ROC 30:25 in Sunday's final to make it a ‘double gold’ weekend for French handball.

In the bronze medal match, Norway convincingly overcame Sweden, 36:19, to win a medal at a fourth consecutive Olympic Games. 


ROC vs France 25:30 (13:15)

  • in an outstanding performance, France line player Pauletta Foppa scored seven goals and earned one penalty. Allison Pineau scored seven goals from eight penalties for France
  • ROC equalised after 38 minutes at 16:16, but France powered clear with a 6:0 run and led 22:16 with 15 minutes remaining  
  • this is France's first Olympic gold medal in women's handball. ROC collected their second Olympic silver medal, after Beijing 2008

Foppa fires France to gold

Five years ago at Rio 2016, Russia beat France 22:19 in the final. At Tokyo 2020, ROC had already beaten France in the preliminary round, 28:27, but France reversed previous Olympic results in style and almost replicated their Women's EHF EURO 2018 final win.

20-year-old line player Pauletta Foppa's combination in attack with Grace Zaadi Duena and Meline Nocandy was crucial to France holding a two-goal lead after 30 minutes. As Russia's defence struggled to prevent France creating clear scoring opportunities, Foppa scored five goals from open play and France also converted five penalties from six attempts.

Although France led at the break, France coach Olivier Krumbholz's decision to put Cleopatre Darleux in goal at the start of the second half paid dividends. Supported by a strong France defence, Darleux stopped six shots from nine faced in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

When Foppa gave France a six-goal-lead, 22:16, with her seventh goal of the game, the destination of the gold medal was clear. Despite Polina Vedekihna scoring seven goals in the match for ROC, her side could not bridge the gap in the last quarter.  


Norway vs Sweden 36:19 (19:7)

  • Kari Brattset Dale and Nora Mørk both scored eight goals for Norway, who established a 10-goal lead (17:7) after 26 minutes, and Silje Solberg made 14 saves for the Women's EHF EURO 2020 champions
  • Norway scored the same number of goals (36) in the bronze medal match against the Netherlands in Rio five years ago
  • this is Norway’s second consecutive Olympic bronze medal, while Sweden’s wait for an Olympic women’s handball medal continues

Norway’s attack outclasses Sweden

Prior to the bronze medal match, the two Scandinavian teams had scored the most goals in the women’s competition at Tokyo 2020 – Norway (222 goals) and Sweden (218 goals) – and Norway's brilliance in attack provided handball fans who rose early on Sunday morning with a treat.

Norway began sharply against Sweden – scoring eight of their first 10 shots to open a four-goal lead after 10 minutes – as Stine Oftedal and Nora Mørk created excellent chances that their teammates converted. As Mørk found her scoring touch as the half progressed and Silje Solberg made seven saves from Sweden's limited opportunities, Norway raced away to a 12-goal lead at the break.

Norway's dominance continued throughout the second half. When Oftedal broke through Sweden's defence in the 47th minute, Norway's lead stood at 29:14. A run of three goals shortly after from line player Kari Brattset Dale extended Norway's advantage to 17 goals, 32:15, for the first time.

For Sweden, whose fourth place finish is their highest at an Olympic Games, their match was typified by line player Linn Blohm's 100 per cent shooting record at Tokyo 2020 ending. Blohm scored two goals from six shots in the game.

The final margin of 17 goals for Norway was greater than their 38:29 win over Sweden in a fifth-place match at the Women's EHF EURO 2018 in France. 

Final rankings

1st France
2nd ROC
3rd Norway
4th Sweden
5th Netherlands
6th Montenegro
7th Hungary
8th South Korea
9th Spain
10th Angola
11th Brazil
12th Japan

All-star Team

Goalkeeper: Katrine Lunde (Norway)
Left wing: Polina Kuznetsova (ROC)
Left back: Jamina Roberts (Sweden)
Centre back: Grace Zaadi Deuna (France) 
Right back: Anna Vyakhireva (ROC)
Right wing: Laura Flippes (France)
Line player: Pauletta Foppa (France)
MVP: Anna Vyakhireva (ROC)
Top scorer: Nora Mørk (Norway) – 52 goals

Detailed results are available on the official Olympics homepage.

All Tokyo 2020 photos courtesy of IHF.

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