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Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 19:34 UK

Iceland take on France for gold

Iceland celebrate their handball victory
A fantastic effort for the Icelandic handball underdogs

Iceland will aim for their first ever Olympic gold when their men's handball team face France in Sunday's final.

It was a convincing display by the Icelandic team as they crushed Spain 36-30 in their semi-final.

In the other semi, France ended Croatia's hopes of defending the Olympic title for the first time with an entertaining and tense 25-23 win.

Spain play Croatia for the bronze medal from 0630 BST, followed by the final at 0845 BST.

Iceland have equalled their country's highest Olympic achievement by just making the final and the silver medal, which they are now guaranteed, matches a feat last achieved by their nation in the triple jump in 1956.

We've spent years getting ready for this but the game is not won yet

France's right winger Luc Abalo

Iceland started the match strongly and raced to a 5-0 lead after only five minutes, and the Spanish struggled to recover for the rest of the match.

They led 17-15 at the break and with 10 minutes remaining, and Iceland having a healthy six-goal advantage, they cruised home to seal a memorable victory.

Icelandic pivot Robert Gunnarson said his team faced a tough match in the final.

"This means everything to us. It's just a dream. We deserve to be in the final, the way we have played," he said.

"We can't celebrate too much now, we've got to get ready for one last push."

It was a much tougher encounter for France, but now they have the opportunity to finally win gold, after they crashed out in Athens in the quarter-finals having been red-hot favourites.

"We've spent years getting ready for this but the game is not won yet," France's right winger Luc Abalo said.

Olympics venues map

BBC Sport's Olympic map

Find out about the Beijing gymnastics and handball venue

Handball medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forFrance 1 0 0 1
Men 1 0 0
2 also show each event results forNorway 1 0 0 1
Women 1 0 0
3 also show each event results forIceland 0 1 0 1
Men 0 1 0
4 also show each event results forRussia 0 1 0 1
Women 0 1 0
5 also show each event results forSouth Korea 0 0 1 1
Women 0 0 1
6 also show each event results forSpain 0 0 1 1
Men 0 0 1

see also
BBC Olympics blog
15 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics
South Korea protest after semis
21 Aug 08 |  Handball
Croatia defence remains on track
20 Aug 08 |  Handball
Mike Bushell's guide to handball
30 Apr 07 |  Handball
Handball hopefuls take next step
20 Jun 07 |  Handball

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