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Date: 12/16/2011

Defence wall against high speed attacks fight for the Gold medal: France against Norway will be the composition of the final of the XX Women’s World Championship. After France had beaten Denmark in the first semi-final, Norway left Spain chanceless in the second semi with a clear 30:22 victory. 12 years ago Norway vs. France had already been the final of a Women’s World Championship with the Northern Europeans as the lucky 25:24 winner after two extra times. Like in 2009 (23:27 against France in Nanjing) Spain missed the final. The Iberians will face Denmark on Sunday in the Bronze final.


The match schedule for the final day:

Sunday 18 December:

9:00: Placement match 5/6: Russia vs. Brazil

11:45: Placement match 7/8: Angola vs. Croatia

14:30: Bronze final: Denmark vs. Spain

17:15: Final: France vs. Norway

(all times are local times)


2nd semi-final: 

Norway – Spain 30:22 (16:9)

Two years ago they had left the field in Nanjing with heads held low after their 20:28 semi-final defeat against Russia, now they were celebrating with their huge crowd of spectators in Sao Paulo: Norway reached the final of the XX Women’s World Championship after this total clear and well-deserved victory. It will be the fifth participation in a final for the current Olympic and European Champion. 1997, 2001 and 2007 they won the Silver medal, and 1999 on home ground they celebrated their one and only WCh title after a high tensioned thriller against their upcoming opponent France. Counter attacks sharp as pinholes, pivot Heidi Löke and goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen were the keys to the clear success against Spain.

Norway already started like an express. Thanks to four counter attack goals they early took a 6:3 lead – and even a Spanish time-out could not stop them. As the Iberians shot very weak and Norwegian goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen saved strong, the Olympic and European Champion extended the gap cold as ice to 10:4 in minute 17. But only five minutes later Spain was back, scoring five straight goals to 10:9. Who thought that the match would turn, was totally wrong, as the Norwegians re-started their powerful high speed train engines. Thanks to outstanding pivot Heidi Löke and the weakness of Spanish attacks, the Northern Europeans scored six straight goals to the clear half-time lead of 16:9.

Both teams re-started very nervous and hectic by missing chances in abundance – so the distance remained clear for Norway.  And as Lunde Haraldsen shut the shop and the defence allowed Spain nearly no shots, the game was already pre-decided in the middle of the second half. In minute 45 Norway was away with an eight-goal margin at 23:15 and had taken full control of the game – right on the way to their seventh victory in their eighth match in Brazil. And already six minutes before the end the Norwegian bench started their celebrations. Top scorers in this one-sided semi were Heidi Löke (six goals for Norway) and Macarena Aguilar (five goals for Spain).

Statements after the match:

Jorge Duenas, coach Spain: We failed at the start but in the second half we tried to react. But whilst my players were very tired, the Norwegians were really good. Norway was clearly better.

Thorir Hergeirsson, coach Norway: As Spain played well before, we had great respect for them. But we were well prepared and absolutely focused on Spain. We managed to do what we wanted to do, especially our counter attacks. A special thanks to our goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen. Despite France has to replace their top players Mariama Signate and Alison Pineau they are still the favourite in my opinion. They still have many top players. As both teams focus on defence, maybe the match will end 0:0 – and then the extra time has to decide.

Macarena Aguilar, player Spain: We would have needed more than 100 per cent to beat Norway. But we made too many mistakes.

Kari Mette Johansen, player Norway: We are really happy to be in the final. Our defence, our counter attacks and our goalkeeper decided the game. It is our great advantage that we play together since many years in the national team and also in the clubs.