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Date: 7/30/2017

The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship bronze medal was decided in a thrilling game, with France claiming the place on the podium thanks to a one-goal win secured with a save from Julien Meyer in the dying seconds. 

It is France’s third bronze medal at the Men’s Junior World Championship, after they finished third in 1997 and 2013. 

“We are so happy to win today because after the semi-final, it’s too hard to continue to train and to play because our first objective was the final and the title,” said France captain Lucas Ferrandier. “We had a lot of stress. In the semi-final Julien was too sad with his performance and today he made 15 or 16 saves, and this was so good for the team. 

“We are a team of a lot of friends, and this is why it was important to finish well. This is the last match of this generation.”

Bronze-medal match: France vs Germany 23:22 (10:12)

Thanks to some great saves from goalkeeper Stefan Hanemann and a perfectly functioning 6-0 defensive system, Germany raced ahead to hold a 6:2 advantage by the 10th minute. With his side encountering significant trouble in attack, France coach Johann Delattre used his first time-out. 

France switched to a 5-1 defensive system with Adama Keita in front, and though it changed the structure of Germany’s attack somewhat, their back court continued with the same fluid play. Midway through the half Germany led 8:5, but with the help of a penalty goal from Keita and a breakthrough off left back Romain Lagarde, France came back within one at 8:9 as the clock showed 20 minutes. 

Through the last 10 minutes of the half Germany temporarily reclaimed a clear advantage, before France repeated their pattern shown throughout Algeria 2017, finishing the first period stronger than their opponents. The 2015 champions could not level the score but reduced the deficit to two by the half-time buzzer. 

Three minutes into the second period France equalised for the first time at 13:13, then pulled ahead to a two-goal advantage off a ground shot from All-star right back Dika Mem (16:14). Despite a time-out called by Germany coach Erik Wudtke, his team were kept scoreless until the 42nd minute, when they finally broke the drought to close the gap to 15:18. 

As the last 10 minutes of the match began France maintained their three-goal lead thanks to a perfect play converted to a goal by line player Hugo Kamtchop Baril, before Julien Meyer made an important save that kept a 22:20 score in favour of the 2015 champions with eight minutes on the clock. Meyer stopped another crucial attempt in the 27th with his side in front 23:21 – though nothing was decided yet as Germany still had plenty of time to claim the upper hand. 

With two minutes left the Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2016 silver medallists closed the gap to one at 22:23. France had possession as the last minute began, but Kamtchop’s shot hit the post, and Germany moved down the court with 30 seconds remaining. Germany’s attempt was deflected by Meyer and rebounded off the post – but Johannes Golla caught the ball and with seconds on the clock shot to the opposite side of the goal. 

Meyer was too quick, recovering from the previous shot to save Golla’s, securing France the bronze medal with his 120th save at Algeria 2017.