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Germany win nail-biter against French handballers

Germany's handballers have won their last group phase game against favorites France. Their narrow 32-30 triumph was the national team's first win over the French since 2007. Both sides progress to the latter stages.

Germany rounded out the group phase of the handball world championships with a surprise victory over France in Barcelona on Friday. Coach Martin Heuberger's side defeated the French 32-30 in a game that was close from beginning to end. The sides were locked on 16 at the halfway stage.

The victory came against group leaders and reigning champions France. Both sides were playing for pride in Spain's second city, guaranteed a place in the round of 16 irrespective of Friday's outcome.

Roughly 11,500 spectators turned out to watch Germany win and secure the top spot in Group A at France's expense.

Patrick Groetzki led the German scorers with six, while goalie Silvio Heinevetter was able to save twice as many shots - 12 - as the two keepers France fielded during the game. French coach Claude Onesta subbed out luckless Thierry Omeyer for reserve goalie Douada Karaboue in the second half.

The top scorer on the night was France's Nikola Karabatic with eight goals.

Germany will play its first knockout match on Sunday, with the opponents as yet undecided.

msh/hc (dpa, SID)

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