Egypt Olympic handball gold medal hopes over after semi-final defeat to France

Pharaohs lose 27-13 and will face either Spain or Denmark in bronze-medal match

It was scenes of heartbreak for the the Egyptian men’s handball team in Tokyo as their dreams of an Olympic gold medal came to an end following a semi-final defeat to France.

Despite dominating in the earliest stages, the experience and the quality of the French defence became the undoing of the Egyptians, who lost 27-23 to the Rio 2016 silver medalists.

The “Pharaohs” opened up the game in style, taking an early four-goal lead inside eight minutes, and looked set to dominate as their creative and aggressive attacking play paid off. But two-time world champions France found their rhythm as the first half progressed and pulled the game back, taking the lead for the first time just before the break. The teams went into half-time at 13-13.

The French managed to carry that momentum into the second half, taking the lead after the interval and one they would not relinquish. Their defensive line held strong against Egypt’s possession. The French goalkeeper Gerard, at times, looking completely impenetrable, saving an impressive seventeen of forty shots.

Egypt’s attack lacked the sting that they started the semi-final with, failing to make the most of the three suspensions meted out to their opponents. Meanwhile, at the other end the French consistently converted, including each of their three counter-attacking fast breaks.

France will play either Spain or Denmark in their fourth Olympic final on Saturday.

Egypt will face the other losing semi-finalist in a bronze-medal match.

Updated: August 5th 2021, 10:43 AM