Hosts France are into the semi-finals of the IHF World Handball Championships ©Getty Images

Hosts and defending champions France secured their place in the final four of the International Handball Federation (IHF) World Championships after defeating Sweden at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille today.

The French team maintained their 100 per cent record in a repeat of the 2001 final which was also won by France.

Frenchman Kentin Mahé was in phenomenal in front of goal, scoring on nine occasions.

The hosts had trailed 16-15 at half-time as Lukas Nilsson put the Swedes ahead with five first-half goals.

But following a number of substitutions including the introductions of Vincent Gerard, Mahé and Nedim Remili, the French's class shone through as they managed to turn the deficit around.

France will now play Slovenia in the last four after they defeated Qatar 30-32 this evening at the Accorhotels Arena in Paris.

The Slovenian team were in sublime attacking form that led to all but two players finishing on the score board as even 'keeper Matevz Skok added one goal.

Right winger Gasper Marguc was top scorer with six goals from six shots for his team despite only playing the first half.

Norway secured their place in the semi-finals for the first time in the country's history.

Norway reached their first ever World Handball Championships semi-finals ©Getty Images
Norway reached their first ever World Handball Championships semi-finals ©Getty Images

They secured a narrow 31-28 win over Hungary today at the Halle Olympique in Albertville as Sander Sagosen scored five goals and provided seven assists.

“It was a great match," said Sagosen.

"We had a game plan and we followed it 100 per cent.

"I am really really proud of this team now.

"We have a lot of confidence and believe we can beat every team and we are a team that is really really hungry now for the first medal in history and we have the opportunity to take it now – it’s perfect.”

In this evening's match, 2011 world champions Croatia continued their campaign for a second title as they beat Spain by the closest of margins at L'Arena in Montepellier.

A narrow 30-29 win was enough to see them through to the next round where they will face Norway.

Tomorrow is a rest day before the semi-finals take place across Thursday (January 26) and Friday (January 27) respectively.