When, like Michaël Guigou or Luc Abalo, we have already won everything, the Olympic Games and the World Championships by shoveling, bronze does not have the scent and flavor of gold. “Third place doesn’t make me dream, admits the former Parisian who is now playing at Elverum in Norway. If I play, it’s to play a final and finish first. “
This will not be the case: the Blues, this Sunday, will not be world champions for the seventh time in their history. Blame it on a failed semi-final on Friday, an impregnable Swedish rock and dull energy. But it’s always the same story when you lose a semi-final: a few hours later, you have to find the resources to make a final effort. It will be against Spain (2:30 p.m., BeIN Sports 3) in a duel of disappointments. It is called “small final” but it is nevertheless the match which, in the end, validates or not a good course and offers a medal or nothingness.
“The worst thing is not losing a semi-final,” confides François-Xavier Houlet, the consultant of BeIN Sports, himself world bronze medalist in 2003 after a small final against… Spain. The worst thing is to finish fourth in a tournament because the chocolate medal is worthless. It is not easy, but you have to find the strength to seek it out. It is important. “
“A medal changes everything”
Since France is a major handball nation, since the Olympic bronze medal in 1992, the Blues have played 14 World Championships. They came back without a charm around their necks just three times in 1999 (quarterfinals), 2007 (4th) and 2013 (quarterfinals). “A medal changes everything, continues François-Xavier Houlet. Even if they win it, the players will still face the podium. When hot, it’s normal. But they will realize its importance later. For the federation too, it is essential not to come back empty-handed. It validates the work, the efforts and in relation to the public, it is always better to finish with a victory to leave a good impression. “
To win it, the Blues of Guillaume Gille must re-mobilize. It is not easy but there is no choice and it is in the head that it is played: “In a small final, it is the team which has the most freshness and the most desire to play that is doing, promises the coach returned tanned twice from a World Cup as a player in 1997 and 2005. You have to throw your last strength on the field, come together by evacuating the frustration of the semi-final. Our game hasn’t always been brilliant in this tournament. We know it but we want to reward our career with this medal ”.
One month before the Olympic qualifying tournament in Montpellier (March 12 to 14 against Croatia, Portugal and Tunisia) and on the way to Tokyo, a bronze medal will give credit to these Blues of France in reconstruction. Faced with the reigning double European champions, beaten by the wire by Denmark who will defend their 2019 title against Sweden, it’s worth making a last effort in this informative Egyptian campaign: ” France has returned to the world quartet, welcomes Ludovic Fabregas. No one expected us at this level, not even us. So now, we must finalize this work carried out for a month by going for this bronze. “