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NORWAY RALLY TO BEAT FRANCE FOR FOURTH WORLD TITLE

In a repeat of their EHF EURO 2020 final, Norway beat France in the gold medal match at the Women’s IHF World Championship 2021. It marked the fourth time Norway had triumphed over France in a major final since 2011.

The Scandinavian side ended up winning as clear as 29:22, but for the first 29 minutes of the final it had looked like France were in the driving seat on the road to the trophy as the Olympic champions built a healthy-looking 16:10 lead.

But Norway reduced the gap to four (16:12) just before half-time and had an outstanding Silje Solberg between the posts as they turned the match around in a second half that saw France managed to score just twice in 20 minutes.

Alongside the excelling goalkeeper, the players that stood out for the new world champions were Henny Reistad – the MVP of the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021, when she steered Vipers Kristiansand to the EHF Champions League title – with six goals; Györi Audi ETO KC duo Stine Oftedal and Kari Brattset Dahl as well as Vipers back Nora Mørk all netted five times.

Both Reistad and Mørk were named in the All-star Team, while Brattset Dahl earned the MVP award.

The match resembled Norway’s decisive main round game against Netherlands, when they also came back from a six-goal deficit to earn the win they needed.

During the tournament, Norway won seven of their eight matches and only dropped a point in the Scandinavian derby against Sweden in the main round.

The result marked Norway’s record-equalling fourth world title, matching Russia's tally of four. Norway earlier won the trophy in 1999, 2011, and 2015; Katrine Lunde, Camilla Herrem and Stine Oftedal have been part of Norway’s gold medal team three times.

In the bronze medal match, Denmark got their first medal at a major event since 2013 by beating hosts Spain 35:28 (16:13). It left Spain without silverware, two years after they had come runners-up to winners Netherlands at Japan 2019.

As Norway are one the three hosts of the World Championship in 2023, alongside Denmark and Sweden, there was little consolation for France, as they are now qualified directly for the final tournament.