France dethrone Denmark to claim third Olympic titleArticle
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FINAL REVIEW: France beat Denmark by two goals in an absorbing men's final at Tokyo 2020, while Spain won the bronze medal

In a repeat final from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, France defeated defending Olympic champions Denmark 25:23 in the Tokyo 2020 men's handball final to earn their third Olympic title. 

Spain's 33:31 win against Egypt in the bronze medal match confirmed that European nations have claimed all three medals available in the men's competition.


France vs Denmark 25:23 (14:10)

  • France scored on eight consecutive attacks either side of half-time – taking a 17:11 lead after 33 minutes – but they had to hold off a spirited comeback from Denmark in the closing stages
  • with France leading 24:23, Ludovic Fabregas's empty net goal with less than 10 seconds sealed France's 25:23 gold medal win
  • Nikola Karabatic, Luc Abalo and Michaël Guigou have been a part of all three of France's Olympic triumphs as players

France reclaim Olympic title

Five years ago in Rio, Denmark beat France 28:26 in the Olympic final, ending France's reign as Olympic champions. On Saturday night in Tokyo, roles were reversed as France reclaimed the Olympic title with a two-goal win over Denmark.

Although the final started at a brisk pace, with six goals scored in the opening five minutes (3:3), France's defence soon found their feet. Turnovers in attack for Denmark proved costly as France extended their lead from 9:8 in the 23rd minute to 14:10 at half-time.

While Denmark relied upon Mikkel Hansen's five goals in the first half, France already had 10 different players on the scoresheet at half-time – with right back Dika Mem leading the way with three goals.

After Nikola Karabatic restored France's five-goal lead in the 42nd minute (21:16), Nikolaj Jacobsen called a timeout for Denmark less than two minutes later. Three quickfire goals from Mikkel Hansen cut France's lead to three goals (22:19) in the 47th minute.

Despite stops made by Vincent Gerard and Yann Genty, Denmark had the opportunity to equalise on their last attack of the match. However, a turnover from Mathias Gidsel allowed Ludovic Fabregas to seal France's gold medal win with an empty net goal.


Egypt vs Spain 31:33 (16:19) 

  • in a high-scoring first half, Spain's first three-goal lead (17:14) came in the 26th minute when Aleix Gomez scored an empty net goal
  • Egypt were level at 28:28 after 54 minutes; however, crucial contributions from Raul Entrerrios and Alex Dujshebaev in the last five minutes ensured that Spain won the bronze medal
  • this is Spain's fourth Olympic bronze medal in men's handball, while Egypt are still without an Olympic handball medal

Entrerrios seals Spain's bronze medal

In a high-tempo bronze medal match, 22 goals were scored in the first 20 minutes as the score was level at 11:11. Two goals from right wing Aleix Gómez in the last six minutes of the first half provided Spain with a clear advantage at half-time.

However, in pursuit of what would have been their first Olympic handball medal, Egypt kept fighting in the second half. As the two sides headed into the final 10 minutes, the score was tied at 27:27.

With the bronze medal in the balance, two star players delivered for Spain in the last six minutes: team captain Raul Entrerrios and Alex Dujshebaev. Dujshebaev scored three times, including a spectacular back court shot that put Spain ahead 32:30 inside the final two minutes, and he also set up Entrerrios for a special farewell goal with just a few seconds left on the clock.

Final rankings

1st France 
2nd Denmark
3rd Spain
4th Egypt
5th Sweden
6th Germany
7th Norway
8th Bahrain
9th Portugal
10th Brazil
11th Japan
12th Argentina

All-star Team

Goalkeeper: Vincent Gerard (France)
Left wing: Hugo Descat (France)
Left back: Mikkel Hansen (Denmark)
Centre back: Nedim Remili (France)
Right back: Yahia Omar (Egypt)
Right wing: Aleix Gómez (Spain)
Line player: Ludovic Fabregas (France)
MVP: Mathias Gidsel (Denmark)
Top scorer: Mikkel Hansen (Denmark – 61 goals)

Detailed results are available on the official Olympics homepage.

All Tokyo 2020 photos courtesy of IHF.


TEXT: Jamie Whittington