City of October 6 (Egypt) (AFP)

France took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the Handball World Cup by beating Iceland 28-25 on Friday in the suburbs of Cairo, but it suffered as before against Switzerland and Algeria.

Against Portugal on Sunday, in the last match of the main round, the Blues will not have to bow by more than 6 goals in order not to go by the wayside in the event of a three-way tie with the Lusitanians and Norway.

The latter, favorite against Algeria on Friday night and Iceland on Sunday, no longer has her destiny in her hands, even with two victories.

By beating Iceland, the team of captain Michaël Guigou avoided a more complicated mission against Portugal, the rising value of the world hand.

But she is still not reassured.

As against Switzerland on Monday (25-24) and Algeria on Wednesday (29-26), she had to fight to gain the upper hand over a supposedly weaker selection.

Coach Guillaume Gille, however, started his typical team and Kentin Mahé showed the way by sucking up the defense to free Luc Abalo (8-7), with 4 goals in the first 20 minutes (11-9).

- Elisson at the door -

This time, the French got into the game better.

But when Melvyn Richardson replaced Mahé in the lead, the Blues gradually lost ground.

They led at the break (16-14) but the 5 ball losses did not bode well.

With its dynamic defense and Bjarki Mar Elisson on fire (already 7 goals at the break), Iceland hung on and came back tied on two blocks (17-17).

The Icelandic winger, 9 goals in total, even gave him a lead of 2 goals (20-18) before Ludovic Fabregas, with 3 goals in 7 minutes, put the Blues right side up (23-22).

The return of Mahé helped a lot, as well as the two consecutive saves of Yann Genty, who became goalkeeper N.2 again after the injury of Wesley Pardin.

Stops that Valentin Porte and Fabregas have made fruitful to give air to the Blues (26-24).

Iceland did not give up but Dika Mem, by a 6th goal, and Genty by a 5th save, secured the victory of the Blues.

© 2021 AFP