In the second round of Group B in Koprivnica Romania and France split points after a dramatic finish.
After Charles Bolzinger’s first save, he found Antoine Tissou sprinting to the opponent’s goal and scored the first one in the game. By the end of the fourth minute, France had a five-goal advantage which forced Romania’s Sipos Loant to call a time out. Romania’s Eduard Iordachi scored the first goal for his team in the seventh minute. From ninth to 12th minute Romania’s side used every opportunity to score new goals, but France kept detaching until the end of the first half and entered the second with five goals more than Romania (10:15).
At the beginning of the second half, Andre Cornel Mitu’s fantastic steal and assistance to Tudor Bogdan Bugulet resulted in a new goal for Romania. Bourgeais Pascale called a time out in the 42nd minute of the game which allowed his team to take a short break and come back more concentrated. This soon resulted in a five-goal lead (18:23) by the end of the 47th minute. Romania’s 4-0 series and Dan Andrei Lazar’s key saves brought them closer to a tie. Last few minutes of the match were the peak of excitement and anticipation as France tried to increase the lead, but Romania kept scoring for a minimum difference. Romania’s Mihai Bogdan Dobra scored from the seven-meter line in the last minute of the match for 29:29 and France’s head coach was forced to call a time out. Last few seconds saw France’s Mathieu Salou and Romania’s Mihai Milu score for a draw.
Best Romania’s player was Mihai Milu and from French side Sadou Ntanzi.
Top scorer for Romania were Tudor Bogdan Bugulet and Stefan Valentin Neagu, each with five goals and for France Sadou Ntanzi scored nine.
France coach Eric Quntin: The end of the first half was terrible, we were up by 7 and had a player more and they scored twice. It completely changed our mindset and the mindset of our opponent. I have to say congratulations to Romania, they believed in themselves and we have some improvements to do.
France Mathieu Salou: In the end, unfortunately, we’re walking away with a draw instead of a victory. Romania played a very good match. They had a good chance when the match was close to its end and they managed to score the crucial goal.
Romania coach Jordi Alberich Giralt: I said it was a good group. The problem today was the poor beginning, we tried to fight and we did fight. I’m very very happy with a point, but also because we played good handball. We want to fight with the best teams in Europe, I think Romania belongs there. We need to prepare and recover for the next match and a fight with Norway. We need to be at our best in two days.
Romania player Mihai Milu: The final play was organized by our coach. It was very good, we practiced it before, but not that much. It ended very well, I don’t know how I found myself in that situation, but it ended very well for us. I’m very happy and proud of my boys for the comeback.
Group B, Round 2:
Romania – France 30:30 (11:15)