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Date: 2/1/2009

France - Croatia 24:19 (11:12)
‘Les Bleus' made it: France became World Champions for the third time after 1995 and 2001. At the end thrilling final that was decided in the final stage of the match only, they sent hosts Croatia into despair. While the Frenchmen were celebrating on the field the Croats' eyes filled with tears. They lost their second WCh final after 2005. The whole country had prepared for the big party but France were predominant in the very end. They had been a tad better than Croatia considering the entire tournament. The match was close until minute 52, as none of the two teams could break into the lead with more than one goal. Tension built gradually. Two excellent set up defence formations left their mark on the match. France profited from great keeper Thierry Omeyer, Daniel Narcisse (six goals) and Michael Guigou (10 goals) whereas Croatia's most striking players were Blazenko Lackovic and Ivan Cupic (6 goals). With the score at 20:18 France broke into the lead on minute 52 to a 2-goal margin for the first time. Croatia seemed lacking ideas and tried to force it. Narcisse' 21:18 goal was a first sign of triumph, France burst into cheer at 23:19 and with 90 seconds to go. France was considered more resolute and more efficient. Captain Jerome Fernandez was presented with the WCh trophy by IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa with his teammates cheering on the podium.


The All-Star Team:
Goalkeeper: Thierry Omeyer (France)
Left-wing: Michael Guigou (France)
Left-back: Blazenko Lackovic (Croatia)
Centre-back: Nikola Karabatic (France)
Right-back: Marcin Lijewski (Poland)
Right-wing: Ivan Cupic (Croatia)
Pivot: Igor Vori (Croatia)
Most Valuable Player: Igor Vori
Top Scorer: Kiril Lazarow (Macedonia)

Final WCh Ranking:

Gold: France
Silver: Croatia
Bronze: Poland

4. Denmark
5. Germany
6. Hungary
7. Sweden
8. Serbia
9. Norway
10. Slovakia
11. FYR Macedonia
12. Korea
13. Spain
14. Egypt
15. Romania
16. Russia
17. Tunisia
18. Argentina
19. Algeria
20. Cuba
21. Brazil
22. Kuwait
23. Saudi Arabia
24. Australia