CAIRO (Reuters) – Sweden caused a great stir to reach the World Cup final after fantastic individual performances from winger Hampus Wanne and goalkeeper Andreas Palicka gave them a 32-26 victory over the more submitted France on Friday.
Wanne tormented his markers on the left flank all the time and finished with a game-high 11 goals and right winger Daniel Pettersson netted six from as many shots, while Palicka collected 11 saves in a high-tempo competition.
Sweden took the game by the throat after a saw-saw opening 15 minutes and never looked back after turning a 7-6 deficit into a 12-8 lead at the end of the first half.
After creating space on each flank all evening, the Swedes were also lethal in quick breaks against a tired-looking French team that never looked to make a comeback again after beating Hungary in overtime to reach the semis.
The French gave themselves a hope when they reduced the deficit to 23-20 halfway through the second half, but Sweden responded fantastically and the match was over like a competition when Wanne netted to 29-24.
The Swedes, who won the last of their four world titles in 1999 in Cairo, will face either Denmark or Spain in Sunday’s final. France, who have a record six titles to their name, face the losers of that semi-final in the bronze medal.
World and Olympic champions Denmark face European title holders Spain in a delicious clash later on Friday after reaching the last four in a contrasting way.
Spain blew to a 31-26 victory over Norway in the quarterfinals while Denmark edged the hosts Egypt 39-38 after double overtime and a penalty construction in the 32-nation tournament’s most entertaining match.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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