Narcisse's buzzer beater sees France reaching Olympic final
The current world and Olympic champions France as well as EHF EURO 2012 winners Denmark have reached the final of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
In two games worthy of any thriller one can possibly imagine, France beat Germany 29:28, with 36-year-old centre back Daniel Narcisse scoring the winning goal on the buzzer.
A few hours later, Denmark looked like the winners in regular before Poland's Michal Daszek levelled the game at 25:25 with two seconds to go. However, the Danes recovered quickly from this late shock and won the game after extra time, 29:28.
The gold medal match takes place at 19:00 hrs CET on Sunday, with France arguably having the far better memories of the most recent final encounter between the two. At the EHF EURO 2014 on Danish soil, France beat the hosts 41:32. Furthermore, France won the group phase encounter at Rio 2016 against Denmark 33:30.
For the bronze medal match at 15:30 hrs CET on Sunday, Germany can take confidence from their group phase performance when they beat Poland 32:29.
In Friday's first semi-final, France, who are now going for their third consecutive Olympic gold, looked like the winning team for two thirds of the match.
Germany did not find any solution against their rock-solid defence and the defending champions had carved out a comfortable 22:15 lead with 20 minutes to go.
However, with 12 minutes left and the score at 26:21 for France, Germany staged an incredible comeback. France's lead melted to 27:26 with four minutes to go, and with 65 seconds left Tobias Reichmann equalised at 28:28.
However, when everyone was getting ready for extra time, Daniel Narcisse had the final say of the game and his shot brought France one step closer to Olympic gold.
Extra time was then needed in the second semi-final between Poland and Denmark. The Danes recovered quickly from Poland's late equaliser, and two goals from Morten Olsen and one from Rene Toft Hansen gave them a 28:25 lead after 63 three minutes, and Poland were not able anymore to turn the match around.
For Denmark, this is first time they reach an Olympic men's final and as they have already won at least silver, it is also the first Olympic medal for the nation in men's handball.
Photos: Stephane Pillaud / IHF
TEXT: EHF / ts