The Danish men’s handball team have put the icing on a fantastic Danish effort at the Olympic Games in Rio by beating the defending champions France 28-26.
The Danes held a surprising 16-14 half-time lead over a French team who beat them handily in the group stage on the back of Mikkel Hansen’s seven goals.
And it was a tremendous defensive effort that kept France at bay in the second half as wave after wave of French attacks were repelled.
Denmark pushed their lead to five with about ten minutes to go, before a furious French comeback brought them back to within one. But the Danes pulled together when it mattered most and held on in the final minutes for the unexpected win.
Denmark, who were not considered among the favourites before the tournament, were hoping to perhaps sneak a bronze medal as a best-case scenario. France, on the other hand, had won gold in 2012 in London and 2008 in Beijing.
The gold took Denmark’s medal tally in Rio to 15 (2 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze), their second-biggest tally in history behind the 20 secured in 1948 in London.
Viktor Axelsen had secured a bronze medal for Denmark in the men’s badminton singles yesterday for number 14.
Prior to the handball victory, Denmark sat in 38th position in the official medal table as the highest ranked country with just one gold. They now sit 28th as the highest ranked country with two golds, one place above Sweden.