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20.01.2021 Europe

France take on Algeria to start second phase of world handball championships

By Paul Myers - RFI
LISTEN JAN 20, 2021

France continue their quest for a record-extending seventh world handball title on Wednesday night with their first match in the main round against Algeria.

Guillaume Gille's men qualified for the second phase of the championships in Egypt as winners of Group E following victories over Norway, Austria and Switzerland.

After taking on Algeria at the Dr Hassan Moustafa Indoor Sports complex, they will play Iceland and Portugal.

The top two from each of the four main round pools will advance to the quarter-final knockout stages.

However, Gille's side suffered a blow after it was confirmed that goalkeeper Wesley Pardin will miss the rest of the tournament.

The 31-year-old ruptured a ligament in his right knee during the 25-24 success over Switzerland on Monday. He will be replaced by Rémi Desbonnet.

“I feel sad and frustrated for Wesley," said Gille. “He was in sparkling form and he had done some great things with us.”

Defending champions Denmark finished off their opening round campaign on Tuesday night with a 31-20 destruction of Argentina in Group D.

"It's a normal result against the world champions," said Argentina coach Manolo Cadenas.

"We tried to defend as much as we could but their fast breaks were too hard for us to deal with.”

Denmark progress to the main round as Group D winners. Argentina and Bahrain also advance to the second phase.

"This win will give us a huge confidence boost going into the next round,” said Denmark pivot Anders Zachariassen.

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