France, Iceland advance to men's handball final

Aug. 22, 2008, 10:41 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) France and Iceland won semifinal matches in men's handball on Friday, ensuring a first-time Olympic gold medalist.

Iceland beat Spain 36-30, while France defeated reigning Olympic champion Croatia 25-23 to set up Sunday's final.

France has only earned a medal once, a bronze in 1992, while Iceland has never won a medal in men's handball.

France led Croatia 12-11 at halftime. The teams were tied at 22 in the 52nd minute, but France scored the next three goals, including two by Daniel Narcisse, who led France with six goals.

The French held top Croatian scorer Mirza Dzomba to one goal on three shots. Goran Sprem and Zlatko Horvat each scored five times for Croatia.

Iceland tied the highest point total of the games in its win over Spain. Iceland led 27-24 in the second half, then went on a 6-2 surge that included three goals by Logi Geirsson. Geirsson and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson each scored seven goals, while Albert Rocas led Spain, also with seven.

Spain and Croatia will play for the bronze medal.

In placement matches, Russia defeated Denmark 28-27 and Poland beat South Korea 29-26. Russia and Poland will play for fifth place on Sunday.