Stadium: National Sports Hall (Yoyogi).
The Russian national handball team has an excellent chance to defend the title of Olympic champion. The Russians have already defeated the French on the group stage, will they be able to repeat this victory in the final match?
The Russian team had a rough start to the Olympic tournament, scoring only 1 point in the first two rounds, but since then it has won 5 straight matches and has deservedly advanced to the finals. Anna Vyakhireva is in 3rd place in the list of the tournament's scorers by scoring 39 goals. Ekaterina Ilyina who is in 5th place in the standings has scored more often in penalty shots, and Daria Dmitrieva has been really helpful in the offense: she has 27 goals and currently is in the 13th place in the scorer's top standings. It is hard to overestimate Vyakhireva's contribution, as she was often involved in individual attacks, which made the team the best in the offense in the Olympics. The team is also great at running fast breaks but has some long-range shooting difficulties.
In the semi-finals, Alexey Alekseev's wards unexpectedly defeated the tournament's favorites - Norway with a score of 27-26. Already after the first half, the Russians were leading by 3 goals, and later the gap reached 6 goals. At the same time, Anna Sen got a suspension on the 14th minute, but the team showed their spirit and regrouped. Anna Vyakhireva had one of the best games at the tournament and scored 9 goals, now she is an obvious candidate for the title of the most valuable player of the Olympics. Ksenia Makeeva was excellent in the lineup, scoring four times. Anna Sedoykina did a great job defending the goal; she made 11 saves and that is 39% of the total shots saved.
The French team was considered to be contenders for medals at the start of the Olympics, although in the course of the tournament its performance was questionable. Nevertheless, the team coped with the losses of Syrabs Dembele, Aïssatou Kouyaté, Orlane Kanor, and Alexandra Lacrabère and reached the finals. Grace Zaadi scored 31 goals and is the best scorer of the team in the tournament, however, Pauletta Foppa scored most of the goals per match - 27 goals in total. At the same time, despite the loss of important players of the rear line of the French are second in statistics for throws from beyond 9 meters (46%). Cleopatre Darleux and Amanda Lino at the gate are not so impressive as we would like to see: with 31% of the total shots saved, they are in 8th place in goalkeepers standings.
In the semifinal of the Olympics Olivier Krumbholz’s team defeated Sweden with a score of 29-27. The beginning of the match was not very promising, and the Swedish team briefly took advantage by 3 goals. France did not made any successful shot from a distance of 7 meters. Nevertheless, in general, the French team showed an active offense and played on the right side of the court. Pauletta Foppa scored 5 out of 5 attempts in the match, and Grace Zaadi scored 7 goals.
Expert betting tips
Before the Olympics, both teams had lineup problems. Sabirova and Malashenko were not in the Russian team. Nevertheless, the core of the team is close to the optimal, and on the course of the tournament, the Russian has shown an amazing performance. The key factor was Vilshirev, who has made an excellent appearance in the team, and if she continues with her current form, the French will have no chance at the upcoming game. The French team had problems in the match against Sweden, where the lack of leading handball players in the defense gave them a hard time, while the Russians had no problem defeating the Norwegians even without Anna Sen. We should consider betting on the following:
- Russia to win + Handicap (-1.5) at odds of 2.21;
- Total under 53.5 for 1.75;
- Russia to win for 1.80.