France to play for 3rd Olympic gold in men's handball
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Daniel Narcisse came through for France, big time.
Using his strength and acrobatic skill, Narcisse scored the winning goal in the last second to give France a 29-28 win over Germany and a spot in the Olympic men's handball final.
''He made an unbelievable shot,'' France teammate Luka Karabatic said.
France is trying to win a third straight Olympic gold medal in the sport. The team will next face Denmark on Sunday. The Danes, who have never won an Olympic medal in men's handball, beat Poland 29-28.
With France's women's team due to play Russia for gold on Saturday, France can become the first team since Yugoslavia in 1984 to win both handball titles at the same Olympics.
France had the game against Germany under control with 20 minutes to go, but the Germans fought back from a 22-15 deficit to tie it at 28-28 in the final minute. That's when Narcisse came through and shot low past Germany goalkeeper Silvio Heinevetter.
''It's frustrating and disappointing,'' said German player Uwe Gensheimer, the game's top scorer with 11 goals. ''When you lose in the last second, it's so bitter.''
The Danes needed extra time to beat Poland, getting 10 goals from two-time world player of the year Mikkel Hansen and some big saves in the extra period from goalkeeper Niklas Landin Jacobsen.
''We play in the middle of the night in Denmark and everybody goes crazy,'' Danish player Henrik Toft Hansen said. ''It's amazing and we are not finished yet. We want the gold.''
France beat Denmark 33-30 in the group stage and also won against the Danes in the 2011 world championship final and the 2014 European championship final.
''We always have big problems against France. I'm hoping to play good defense,'' Danish player Henrik Mollgaard Jensen said. ''We really have to step up our game.''