• France's news in English

France beats Sweden after test of nerves

AFP · 13 Aug 2012, 10:26

Published: 13 Aug 2012 10:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

After their victory in Beijing in 2008, the powerful French side went on to become the first men's team in history to hold the Olympic, world and European

titles at the same time.

But Claude Onesta's side also had something to prove after a disappointing campaign at January's European championships in Serbia, where they failed to
reach the semi-finals.

"We were superb. The players were outstanding and the fans incredible. What a magnificent game, atmosphere and occasion," said Onesta.

"It is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. To win it four years ago was fantastic but to do it in London in the next Olympics was
even better."

"I thought my team played a hard, strong game both in defence and attack. We had our plan and it came off," he added.

In a cagey opening at the Basketball Arena, the score was 3-3 in the 11th minute, with goalkeeper Johan Sjöstrand impressing in the Swedish goal and
neither side able to impose themselves on the contest.

The French team led 10-8 at the break but the tenacious Swedes pulled one back seconds after the restart.

Midway through the second half France still led by the narrowest of margins but with the noisy crowd belting out La Marseillaise, the Scandinavians
crucially failed to get back on level terms, with French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer making some vital saves.

Amid mounting tension, a penalty for Sweden brought the scores back to 21-20 as the seconds ticked away but a strike by Luc Abalo restored a two-goal
margin and that ultimately proved enough.

Michael Guigou top-scored for the French, with five goals. Niclas Ekberg was the topscorer for Sweden, with six goals.

Story continues below…

Sweden, who were not expected to advance much further than the quarter-finals, having been a team in transition, also won silver in 1992,
1996 and 2000.

"We did not attack the way we can. Defensively we were strong but we could have been better in attack and scored more goals," said Sweden coach Staffan

"But we have to accept the defeat and think about the positive things. Even though it is hard right now to do that."

Earlier, Croatia came out on top in the bronze medal match, overcoming Hungary 33-26.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available