France muscles out Spain to reach final at women's handball worlds

11:20, December 19, 2009      

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Former world champion France clinched a final spot after outgunning European runner-up Spain 27-23 at the semifinal of 2009 women's handball World Championship in Nanjing on Friday.

Carmen Dolores Martin netted in the opening goal for Spain in the third minute from a 7m penalty throw.

But it was the only chance for Spain to take the lead throughout the match. Camille Ayglon, who scored five, and Paule Baudouin's goals paced France to seize a 2-1 advantage, and the two sides exchanged goals until they reached 4-4.

Then the French squad, world titlists in 2003, surged on a 5-0 spurt to set up a clean margin before the Spanish struggled to narrow the gap and trailed 10-12 by the half-time break.

Spain, runner-up in the 2008 European Championship, still failed to even the score in the second half. Marta Mangue of Spain, who scored a match-high nine points, broke through the rival's defence and hurled into the bottom of the net, chopping the gap to15-16 in the 38th minutes.

However, France restored their lead with a 8-2 run in the following 16 minutes and Katty Piejos' breakthrough in the final moments helped France seal the victory.

"We are satisfied to beat Spain and reach the final. We knew from the very beginning that it would be a very difficult match for us. Now we entered the final and we do not want to stop here. I hope we can go further," said Ayglon in a post-match conference.

France will face the winner between defending champion Russia and reigning Olympic gold medallist Norway in Sunday's final.

French coach Philippe Bana said there were many inexperienced players in the squad, but the team stuff would help them get prepared for the final.

Source: Xinhua
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