French handball players return to action three months after World Cup final defeat: Les Bleues continues Euro 2022 qualification with Croatia on Thursday in Koprivnica (6:00pm), then Sunday in Toulouse (5.30pm) ).
Les Bleues started their campaign in October and have won against the Czech Republic (38-22) and Ukraine (28-25) to top the group stage if a double victory against the bronze medalist when they can secure their qualification to Euro 2020.
“We are all very happy to meet again. We had a great week together and could possibly qualify for the Euros,” a 30-year-old centre forward, Estelle Enze Minko, told AFP. The silver medal-winning staff at the Les World Cup was remarkably similar, the seventh time on the podium in the past eight international championships.
Of course, coach Olivier Krumbholz wants to test new things: “Always try new things, call on young players”. But “no matter what, we will always take the best way.”
16 of the 20 finalists from Granollers (Spain) were recalled. Allison Pineau, Catherine Gabriel, Laura Flippes and Paulette Foppa (injured) are missing. When they returned, Orlane Ahanda and Kalidiatou Niakaté were wounded and replaced by centerpieces Sarah Bouktit and Oriane Ondono.
– “Fierce competition” –
The changes are part of a “new cycle” to host the Olympics in the country in 2024. The world powers the 2024 Olympics. It’s going to be a bit of a tough competition, and we’ll arbitrate happily,” happily Klumbholz.
Goalkeeper Cléopâtre Darleux also projects himself and believes “preparations are global”. “We thought long-term about the Olympics, with a specific line of work and areas for improvement,” she continued.
Still, the goal of the rally is the success of this double confrontation with Croatia, as centre-back Grace Zaadi noted: “We knew that important deadlines were coming and we had big ambitions. But we didn’t Considered. No morning, noon and night.”
“We want first of all to win both games in style, to secure qualification and to help these young players integrate in the best possible way, relying on their quality”, Zaadi continued.
Olivier Krumbholz assured him that the two meetings should not be taken lightly. “It’s two big races for us. We want to come out on top in this pool to approach April (final qualifying period, editor’s note) calmly.”
“We know it won’t be easy. The Croats played well and will definitely have some revenge for the semi-finals of the European Championships 2020, where they were mistreated (30-19 win, editor’s note)”, he concluded. ..