24.01.2013, Semifinals, Herning
France 30:27 Spain (12:14)
The first semifinal match was clash between the current World Champion, Spain and the winner of the European championship in 2006 and 2010, France. The intention of both national teams, to enter in the semifinal was successfully accomplished. The “final touch” was to give all their strength to qualify in the big final.
The beginning of the match showed a complete domination of France that in the 11th minute manifested as a lead of 7:2 and in the 20th minute 11:6. But, in the last 10 minutes of the first half Spain proved why they are called “The Red Fury” (La furia roja), making a series of 8-1, and turning over the result in their advantage leading with 14:12 that was the final result of the half. In that period the best player of Spain was Canellas ( scored 4 times).
The Spanish national team managed to maintain the lead only in the initial 5 minutes of the second half. France started playing better defence. Spain was weak in attack especially the right back Maqueda that was completely indisposed this match. First of all, with the goal of Karabatic, France tied the result 16:16, and then made a minimal lead with 17:16 with the goal from Porte in the 35th minute. While the Spanish defence was focused on Karabatic, Narcisse and the other quality players, the free space was used by French youngster Porte, who led his team in a new final. He got help in the amazing left wing Abalo that was unstoppable for the Spanish defence in the crucial moments. The same role, but in the rivals team, was covered by the Spanish center back and player of Hamburg, Canellas and left back Raul Entrerios. They were the only players in the Iberian team that knew how to outsmart Thierry Omeyer and his younger colleague Cyril Dimulin. They managed to tie the result 20:20 in the 42nd minute but it was not enough.
They played goal by goal until the 52nd minute when Aguinagalde after a great assistance of Canellas tied the result 25:25. Karabatic and Porte brought another lead for France 27:25, and in the last 5 minutes Spain reduced the result of 1 goal negative with the 7 meter shot of Tomas. In the last 3 minutes, the decision men was Abalo, he scored the last 3 goals for France. First of all in the 56th minute with his speciality ( a 9 meter shot), and increased the lead to 28:26, and in the 58th minute to 29:26 so the winner was already known. Canellas reduced to 29:27 but Abalo with his 8 goal confirmed the victory and the final result 30:27.
This is a 3rd time for France to qualify in the final of the European Handball Championship, when in 2006 won the golden medal in Switzerland and in 2010 in Austria.
This Sunday at 17:30h France is playing for the gold against the host Denmark and earlier at 15:30 Spain is facing Croatia for the battle for the 3rd place.