For triple EHF EURO champions France, it was already make-or-break time, as they had lost the first game of the competition on Friday to Portugal.
In order to keep alive their main round qualification hopes alive, France had to beat Norway, playing in their own Trondheim Spektrum. Prior to this game, the Scandinavian side had two points, thanks to their win against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first round.
- Norway and Portugal are qualified for the main round while France and Bosnia and Herzegovina are officially out
- Sander Sagosen was the top scorer with 10 goals
- player of the match Ludovic Fabregas netted six times for France
France vs Norway 26:28 (15:14)
What the first half of this game lacked in technical precision, it made for up with huge intensity. Even from the stands, you could feel the power behind every contact. And in these conditions, Sander Sagosen proved to be one hell of a mastermind.
Scoring five in the first 16 minutes of the game, the Norwegian centre back was key for his team, who took an early three-goal advantage on an in-flight goal he concluded, after a pass by Kristian Björnsen (8:5).
France were not ready to admit defeat just yet. Vincent Gerard was decisive between the posts and thanks to his saves, and to Ludovic Fabregas’ goals, they stayed in contact and took the lead in the 24th minute.
As the game progressed, the two teams were playing level and, at the break, France was leading by one goal (15:14).
Although the EHF EURO 2014 champions took a three-goal advantage at some point, Norway never seemed to be on the verge of breaking, remaining calm and focused.
As the end of the game approached the weight of every ball increased. Yet Norway remained steadfast, despite Nedim Remili finally finding his way to the Norwegian net.
With Sander Sagosen giving Norway a three-goal lead again three minutes before the end, the 8,532 spectators in the Trondheim Spektrum could celebrate the qualification of their team for the main round.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) January 12, 2020