France grabbed the second spot in the semi-finals, following Poland to the next round in Vienna, and with this win finish in first place in Group II.
On Saturday, the still unbeaten French, will meet the still unbeaten team from Iceland in the semi-final. A re-match of the Olympic final in Beijung will see Poland meet the Croatians from Group I.
The key factors of the first half were the two outstanding goalkeepers, Thierry Omeyer and Slawomir Szmal, and a weak Polish offense. Bielecki & Co. were not able to break down the French wall, and if they did Omeyer simply saved their shots.
The match would have been decided before the break, if Szmal had not has had a brilliant day again with 11 saves in 30 minutes. He drove the French attackers to despair through his saves, and the atmosphere in the stands was great: ”Polska, Polska” against ”Allez les bleus”. A clear advantage for the Polish spectators, as their number was nearly ten times the number of the French.
The Poles scored only three goals from outside nine metres in the first 20 minutes, France were in the lead 10:4 and kept the lead until the break (15:10), even though they had to replace world-class pivot, Bertrand Gille.
Poland edged closer in the first period of the second half. After their worst first half at this EURO, head coach Bogdan Wenta obviously found the right word in the changing room. His players made less mistakes and a draw was within reach as France lost focus and made more and more mistakes.
But the Poles failed to get to more than three goals away from France and the clock was ticking against them.
When Sorhaindo scored to take the score to 24:19, the last Polish fire seemed to have been blown out. But cheered on by oud Polish support, Wenta´s team continued to flight, cheered by their spectators and scoring a series of four goals with just one in reply. The scoreline standing at 23:25 in the 57th minute.
Again it was that man Sorhaindo who was to decide the game with his sixth goal after two great saves from Omeyer, who in total saved 19 shots - still three less than Szmal. Top scorers were Sorhaindo with six for France and Bielecki with five for France.
Poland vs France 24:29 (10-15)