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Date: 1/30/2009

Denmark - France 22:27 (16:11)
Thanks to a fabulous performance in defence favourites France were the first team to make through to the final of the 2009 Men's World Championship in Croatia. In Split they outstripped Denmark 27:22 (16:11). The Olympic champions thus earned their fourth qualification to a WCh final ever. France proved their predominance another time which the final score of 27:22 does not reflect. They really built up a stronghold the Danish side was not able to tear down. The match was balanced until 7:7 (‘15) then France scored five goals in a row to maintain this margin until the half-time break. Aside from their great defence work the individual class made the difference. Denmark tried hard but ‘Les Bleus' pulled away one goal after the other. On minute 46 the margin even was eight goals. Denmark indeed put on a final spurt but it was too late. When Luc Abalo, France top scorer (7 goals), was sent off on minute 54 after hitting the head of keeper Landin the Danes took advantage of their numerical superiority to come close from 16:24 to 20:24 but the Frenchmen were comfortable enough to come home and dry. Denmark's top scorer crown went to Klaws Bruun Jörgensen, netting five. France' key players were Guillaume Gille (five goals out of five) and Michael Guigou.


Claude Onesta: "This victory over Denmark gives us great satisfaction. They have a strong team, but today the quality of our defence and fabulous Thierry Omeyer made the difference."

Ulrik Wilbek: "First of all, I would like to congratulate the French team. We knew that the key to success would have been to open their defence. However, this only worked for the first 15 minutes."


Croatia - Poland 29:23 (14:13)
Outstanding right wing Ivan Cupic, who scored 12 goals, as well as 19 saves by keeper Mirko Allilovic paved Croatia's way to the final of their dreams where they will meet France. Poland, who competed their second WCh semi-final in a row, will play Denmark in the ‘consolation final' for third place. 15,000 fans at the Zagreb Arena burst into endless cheers for their team. Croatia managed a good start to run to 12:8 before Poland found into a match after a time-out. They drew at 13:13 to leave for the changing rooms with one goal behind. After changing ends, however, everything the Vice-champions did went wrong, they scored just two goals in 15 minutes. The Croats, for their part, played successful counter-attacks and profited from their new set-up defence. The score was at 22:15 on minute 42 and Croatia attained their peak at 25:16 (‘45, Cupic's tenth goal) to decide the match. Croatia slowed down towards the end in order for Poland to catch up to 23:29 but they were unable to spoil Croatia's well deserved win.


Lino Cervar: "It was a fabulous game and a fascinating match. This victory assured us our fifth medal in six years, it is amazing. The crowd pushed us forward and the players gave everything they could. We do not think about France now but celebrate our victory first.

Petar Metlicic: "We managed the ninth victory in nine games, there is nothing to add. But we have not finished yet. We want to go for gold on Sunday. And we are going to fight for that until the very end.

Bogdan Wenta: "I want to congratulate coach Lino Cervar in particular. I admire his work. No doubt that Croatia was the better team. Now we hope we will be able to perform well again in Sunday's match for third place."