France beats Russian team to win women's handball gold

France beats Russian team to win women's handball gold

France is the first country to win both handball events at the same Olympics since Yugoslavia at the 1984 Los Angeles Games

France's goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud (L) and France's goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux celebrate with their gold medals on the podium after the women's handball event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo. Credit: AFP photo

From double silver to double gold.

France won the women's handball gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday to become the first country in 37 years to win both men's and women's tournaments — five years after losing both finals.

France beat the Russian team 30-25 in the women's final with the men's players cheering on a day after they beat Denmark. Both finals were rematches from 2016.

The score was level at 16-16 midway through the second half before France scored six unanswered goals and had a string of saves by goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux. Pauletta Foppa and Allison Pineau had seven goals each, and so did Russian player Polina Vedekhina.

Darleux's finished with nine saves off 21 shots and the other French goalkeeper, Amandine Leynaud, had three off 15. The Russian team's goalkeepers combined for five off 35.

France is the first country to win both handball events at the same Olympics since Yugoslavia at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Even reaching the final was an achievement for the Russians after failing to win either of their first two games of the tournament — a tie with Brazil and 12-goal loss to Sweden — amid vocal criticism from the former coach who won gold in 2016.

Former coach Evgeny Trefilov was in the stands throughout the tournament in a “consultant” role after stepping down in 2019 for health reasons. Early in the tournament he even called out his own instructions, complicating matters for the coaching team on the sidelines.

Norway matched its women’s bronze from 2016 with a 36-19 win over Sweden. Nora Mork and Kari Brattset Dale scored eight goals each.