In what looked from afar like a remake of the final of the Games, the French have once again stifled their opponent in defense, as they have become accustomed to since the start of this World-2021 in Granollers (Spain). Following their resounding victory against Russia (33-28) this Monday evening, the French handball players will cross paths with the Swedes in the quarter-finals.
After a close start to the match, the French very quickly made the difference against the Russians without a solution in attack. The second half was another demonstration of the collective strength of Coralie Lassource’s teammates, perfect on her right wing. They also added a nice offensive touch, carried by the right arm of Allison Pineau who celebrated his 270th selection for the France team, becoming the fourth blue most capped tied with Camille Ayglon, and behind Isabelle Wendling (338), Dembélé (291) and Pecqueux-Rolland (289).
And it wasn’t a failure on a seven-meter throw early in the first period that distracted her, returning to the line afterwards. The Ljubljana full-back put on a real shooting and passing show, unstoppable for 30 minutes, with three goals including a penalty, three assists and no stray ball. She finished the game with five goals on the clock.
With a favorable match physiognomy, Olivier Krumbholz was able to launch Orlane Kanor into the game, back after a rupture of the left Achilles tendon in mid-April. The 24-year-old Messina, absent from Tokyo, was able to score a goal in the last ten minutes.
Full of confidence
This success, with again a very wide gap (they had won 11 goals against Slovenia, 10 goals against Angola and Poland), is the most successful since the start of the competition of the French, who arrive with the full of confidence in the quarter-finals, undefeated, with a defense extremely well in place, and an attack which begins to be well on the placed game, cute sin of the Blue on the first matches.
For a place in the last four, it is therefore regulars that the French will find Wednesday in Granollers, since France and Sweden have already faced each other twice at the Tokyo Olympics, in the main round (28-28) and in the semi-finals (29-27). Olivier Krumbholz’s players are aiming for a double in the space of four months, which only Danes (1996) and Norwegians (2008) have managed to achieve (at the time a European Championship).
The path to the third planetary coronation could take on strong Scandinavian accents, with French women placed in half of the Danish table. Even if their first place allows them to avoid Norway, European champion in December 2020 until the final.