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Date: 8/24/2008

FRA - ISL 28:23 (15:10)

The great favourites turned their dream into reality in Beijing. France outclassed Iceland 28:23 in a one-sided Olympic final. The French team burst into endless cheer after the final whistle to hug each other on the field.
France proved absolute predominance from the very beginning of the tournament and added seven victories and one draw to their account to win their first Olympic handball gold ever. Iceland won their first medal and have every reason to celebrate anyway.

The Frenchmen overrun their opponents in the first half mainly due to their strong defence and brilliant goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer. Iceland had nothing to put up against this stronghold. The 2006 European champions stole plenty of balls to score goals from counter-attacks. A first seven-goal margin was reached at 14:7 (‘25). In the final phase of the first half they calmed down while Iceland got a move on to reduce to 10:15. In the second half France continued their outstanding defensive work including world-class keeper Omeyer in excellent shape. Iceland got stuck to France with top scorer Nikola Karabatic, who scored 8 goals and showed his best performance in the tournament. France had their chance of advancing to a 10-goal margin but failed. Although Iceland had no more chance to turn the match they did not give up but fought bravely, as this Olympic final has gone down in Iceland history as the greatest handball triumph ever. They even managed to come closer thanks to nice saves by keeper Gustavsson. Iceland's top scorer of the match was Olafur Stefansson (5).

A 18,000 crowd at the fully packed National Indoor Stadium created a great atmosphere no matter which team was on the court.

Final ranking of the Men's Olympic Tournament:

Gold: France
Silver: Iceland
Bronze: Spain
4. Croatia
5. Poland
6. Russia
7. Denmark
8. Korea
9. Germany
10. Egypt
11. Brazil
12. China