Pre-tournament favorite Denmark will try to secure its second straight gold medal as it takes on France in the final of the men’s Olympic handball tournament on Saturday.
Both Denmark and France won their respective semifinal matches on Thursday by identical 27-23 scores, with each facing some of the stiffest defense they’ve seen in Tokyo.
Hansen showing MVP form in Tokyo
Denmark defeated Spain behind 12 goals by superstar Mikkel Hansen. The three-time world championship MVP now has 52 goals at the Tokyo Olympics to lead all scorers in the tournament. Spain came into the tournament as one of the medal favorites after winning the European championship in both 2018 and 2020.
Outside of those two events, Denmark has been the dominant force in men’s handball over the past five years. Not only did the Danes win the 2016 Olympic handball tournament, but they also won world titles in both 2019 and 2021. FanDuel Sportsbook rated Denmark as the +240 pick to win gold heading into Tokyo.
|Men’s Olympic Handball Odds – To Win Gold Medal Match (via BetMGM)|
|Denmark: -200||France: +155|
|Bronze Medal Match|
|Spain: -165||Egypt: +125|
To add another Olympic gold, Denmark will have to beat France yet again, just as they did in Rio. France saw off a difficult challenge from upstart Egypt, which is vying to become the first non-European nation to win a men’s handball medal since South Korea won silver in 1988, as well as the first African nation ever to do so.
Egypt started out hot to go up 5-1 early, and held France to a 13-13 tie at halftime. But France pulled ahead for good in the second half behind goalkeeper Vincent Gerard, who made 17 saves in the match.
France relishes Olympic handball rematch with Denmark
Now, France will get a chance to avenge its 28-26 loss to Denmark in the 2016 Olympic handball gold medal match. Prior to that, France won gold in both 2008 and 2012. FanDuel Sportsbook saw France as a +650 pick to win gold heading into the tournament.
Denmark comes into the gold medal game as a clear favorite. BetMGM has made Denmark the -200 favorite in the men’s handball final, with France fetching +155 odds. Norway has already beaten France once in the tournament, winning 32-29 in a group stage clash. But the French team says it will leave everything on the court in the gold medal match.
“We are going to play the fight of our careers, and we are going to use all of our strengths in the battle,” Gerard told reporters. “It’s my second final in the Olympics. The first was a defeat. I hope we are going to change that.”
Meanwhile, Egypt now faces Spain in the bronze medal match. Spain (-165) comes in as a favorite over Egypt (+125) in the game.