Only 18 days after competing in the opening game of the EHF EURO 2018, France and Russia will meet again to determine the winner of the competition. The clash between the tournaments hosts and reigning world champions on one side and the 2016 Olympic winners on the other has no favourites.
Russia vs France
Sunday 16 December, 17:30hrs CET, live on ehfTV.com
Right after the opening game of the EURO in Nancy both coaches had predicted that Russia and France would meet again in the final. After beating respectively Romania (28:22) and the Netherlands (27:21), both teams taking part in the opening game of the tournament on the 29th November will be on court at the AccorHotels Arena on Sunday.
"Both teams have made a lot of progress since the beginning of the competition and the game will be completely different," says Anna Vyakhireva.
For Russia, this is the first EHF EURO final since 2006 in Sweden, when they lost 24:27 against Norway in what remains, to this day, their only continental final.
For hosts France, this final is a first since they had never made it to this stage of the competition in the past. In 2016, they had reached the semi-finals but Norway had prevented them from going any further, before Olivier Krumbholz gathered their forces and won the bronze medal against Denmark.
This is not the first time when Russia and France will be facing each other for a title. The last time was two and a half years ago at the Olympics in Rio. After winning by one goal in the group phase, Evgenii Trefilov’s girls won again in the final.
But this time, the game will not be played on neutral court but in Paris in front of 15,000 persons who will be all-out supporters for France. Will that make any difference? "I hope they’re going to be on fire, that they will lift us up, carry us," said Allison Pineau during the media call. The last time France won against Russia in an official game was in the quarter-finals of the 2011 world championship.
No matter what will be the result of the EHF EURO 2018 final, a brand new team will be crowned as European champions, a feat what only four countries accomplished so far - Norway, Montenegro, Hungary and Denmark.