After two exciting semifinals, the finalists have now been determined. Norway and France will fight for the gold and the title of becoming IHF Women’s World Champions 2023.
Four teams remained, and yesterday they all fought to secure one of the last two spots in the dream of reaching the final. Two semifinals were on the day’s schedule: one between Denmark and Norway, and the other between France and Sweden.
In the first semifinal, Norway and Denmark faced each other. It turned out to be a dramatic fight for a spot in the final. Throughout the game, it looked like Denmark was heading to the final as they held the lead. However, in the crucial minutes, Norway managed to fight their way back into the game, and with a minute and a half left, they took a one-goal lead.
In the dying seconds of regular time, Denmark was awarded a penalty shot, to be taken by Denmark’s number 23, Kristina Jørgensen. Everyone in the Jyske Bank Boxen held their breath as Jørgensen stepped up – Denmark and Norway’s fate in the IHF Women’s World Championship hinged on her shot. To Denmark’s great joy, she managed to score, and the game was forced into two sets of five-minute extra time periods.
In the extended play, the match continued to remain evenly matched, and there was still excitement until the very end.
In the very last seconds of the extended play, Norway’s top scorer, Henny Ella Reistad, managed to slam the ball into the Danish net, making it 28-29 for Norway. This became the final score of the game, sending the Norwegian women to the final while dashing the Danish women’s hopes of World Championship gold.
“It means an incredible amount. It is impressive from the team that we are still standing here in the end,” said Reistad at the end of the match against Denmark to IHF.
“I think this is one of the best matches I have ever played, and I am over the moon with the result,” added the 24-year-old left back.
In the other semifinal, France and Sweden were set to compete for the last spot in the final. Both teams were ready to give their all to advance to the final and secure a medal.
Both French and Swedish fans were in attendance, ready to cheer their teams on.
However, the French fans had more reason to celebrate as the French women played a very strong match and are now set for a final showdown against the Norwegian women.
Norway is the defending World- and European Champions, while France holds the title of defending Olympic Champions. This sets the stage for an epic final, where both teams will undoubtedly do everything in their power to stand atop the podium and lift the trophy, declaring themselves the 26th IHF Women’s World Champions.