Nail-Biting Opener: France Prevails Over Angola in IHF Women’s World Championship

African champions, Angola, delivered a surprise challenge to France coach Olivier Krumbholz in the opening match of his final IHF Women’s World Championship. The closely contested Group D opener saw France secure a narrow victory of 30-29 over Angola in Stavanger.

The match had significant stakes for the Olympic champions, aiming to win the championship for their coach, who announced his retirement after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Krumbholz’s team faced challenges with wastefulness, scoring only 10 of their 17 fastbreaks and committing 17 turnovers.

Despite a shaky start, Angola capitalized on France’s mistakes, establishing an early advantage.

France leveled the score at 9:9 in the 16th minute, and a 5:0 scoring run propelled them to a 14:11 lead.

 However, Angola fought back, narrowing the gap to 14:13 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half.

At halftime, Angola’s 13 turnovers and France’s three saves highlighted the scrappy nature of the match.

The contest remained exciting for spectators inside the DNB Arena. Even with the introduction of France captain Grace Zaadi Duena, Angola stayed within reach, trailing 20:21 by the 40th minute.

Despite France pulling ahead to 27:22 by the 50th minute, Angola, led by captain Isabel Guialo, showcased resilience, equalizing twice at 28:28 and 29:29.

A late strike from Laura Flippes secured a 30:29 lead for France, followed by a timeout from Angola with 20 seconds remaining.

In a tense moment, Angola had an opportunity to level the score, but a well-worked play saw the ball hitting the post, ensuring victory for France.

The match’s intensity and Angola’s spirited comeback efforts added to the drama, making it a compelling start to the tournament.

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