Only eight teams remain in the IHF World Women's Handball Championship in Brazil.
France, Croatia, Denmark and host Brazil joined Angola, Russia, Norway and Spain in the quarter-finals after posting wins on Monday night.
France, which won the event in 2003 and finished runner-up to Russia two years ago, ousted Sweden 26-23. The French trailed 12-15 at the half but found their rhythm in the crucial stages to reach the last eight. Paule Baudouin led the winning team with six goals.
"We are absolutely happy after this highly difficult game and after the severe injury of Mariama Signate the day before," France coach Olivier Krumbholz told the IHF web site.
"It was very hard for us to keep up with Sweden in the first 40 minutes. But then the better physical fitness decided the match, and our players have a high level physical fitness."
France will face Russia in the quarterfinals.
Croatia, meanwhile, slipped past Romania 28-27. Kristina Franic's last-minute goal sealed the win for the Croatians, which trailed 15-18 at the break.
"In the half-time I said: 'It's now or never'. And we got the result," Croatia coach Vladimir Canjuga said.
"We deserved to win and to go to the quarter-finals. Against Norway we have to be very strong. Now, we're going to rest. We are happy to be among the eight best teams of the competition. And we will take part in the Qualification for Olympic Games."
Awaiting the Croatians in the last eight is 1999 champion Norway.
Meanwhile, 1997 champion Denmark needed an extra period to edge Japan 23-22. In fact, the European powerhouse relied on a penalty shot from Trine Troelsen after the final whistle to force overtime.
The Danish star then scored three of her team's four goals in extra time to lead them to victory. Danish goalkeeper Christina Pedersen also made her presence felt, saving 16 shots.
The final match of the day saw Brazil coasting to a 35-22 victory over Ivory Coast.
The winner of the World Championship will gain an automatic ticket to next year's London Olympics and the 2013 World Championship to be held in Serbia.
IHF World Women's Handball Championship Live Streaming Schedule on Wednesday, December 14:
- Russia v France
- Angola v Denmark
- Norway v Croatia
- Spain v Brazil