Nigeria fell to a chastening 48:19 defeat to 2017 U19 world champions and U20 EHF EURO 2018 silver medallists France in their opening game in Group B of the 2019 Word Junior Handball Championship in Spain on Tuesday.
Nigeria’s U21 men team were outclassed and overwhelmed right from the start as France began in a hurry scoring four unanswered goals in the first five minutes and by half time the Europeans led by seventeen goals as they headed into the interval with a 26:9 lead.
A solid defence underpinned much of France’s good work and constantly frustrated Nigeria who struggled to create a pathway to the opponents’ goal.
And although Nigeria fought gamely as the encounter wore on, they were no match for France who were clearly several levels removed from the Africans.
France right-wing Edouard Kempf finished as the top scorer, with nine goals and was voted player of the match.
Speaking after his side’s loss, coach of the Nigerian team Shittu Adewunmi said: “We knew that we were facing one of the great candidates for the title and the truth is that in the counterattack, they managed to do us a lot of damage. Against Egypt, it will be a challenge for us, we will face a rival and we want to win.”
France and Nigeria are both in action again today with matches against the Republic of Korea and Egypt respectively.