(FromL) Egypt s pivot Ibrahim El Masry, Egypt s right back Ahmed Elahmar and Egypt s right back Yahia Khaled react after being defeated by France at the end of the men s semifinal handball match between France and Egypt of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo on August 5, 2021 (AFP)
Egypt put up a brave fight but ended up losing 27-23 to France in the semi-final of the Olympic Games on Thursday. However, they will still have a chance to win a historic bronze medal.
The Pharaohs made their first ever semi-final appearance and, although they were neck and neck with France in the first half, they could not match their illustrious opponents after the break.
France keeper Vincent Gerard was the night's outstanding performer with an impressive record of 17 saves out of 39 efforts, with Dika Mem, who scored five goals, proving a handful for Egypt's defence.
"It's a disappointment. Today we were unlucky and their keeper had a great game," Egypt's veteran player Ahmed El-Ahmar, who is likely to retire from international handball after the tournament, told beIN Sports after the match.
"We are sad but we can win a medal and achieve something very big. We will do our best to get over this defeat quickly."
El-Ahmar's teammate Yehia Khaled fought back tears, but said he was proud that Egypt had reached that stage.
"We will return to Egypt with a bronze medal, God willing," he told beIN Sports.
Gerard blocked two penalties and made seven other saves to prevent Egypt from gaining a comfortable lead in the first half.
Egypt led from the beginning and fell behind for the first time on 18 minutes when Hugo Descat scored. Both sides were level at 13-13 at halftime but France had the upper hand in the second half.
With Gerard producing more impressive saves, France extended their advantage to three goals for the first time 16 minutes into the second half and Egypt could not keep pace.
Egypt will face either Denmark or Spain in the third-place game on Saturday.
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