First conclusive test: the French handball players signed a great success on Friday against Spain (36-31), the toughest opponent in their group and already qualified like them for the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Games.
The Blues are even guaranteed to finish at the top of their group, thanks to the victory in the evening of Germany against Norway (28-23), which could open a more accessible table until the final.
Starting with a quarter-final probably against Portugal.
And above all the assurance of not crossing Denmark, the favorite to his own succession, before a possible final.
Always good to take.
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Faced with undefeated Spaniards until then, Guillaume Gille's men were very solid in this meeting, "
a moment of evaluation, to know where we are
", according to the coach. Proof that it was more of a mock exam than a real competition, its players did not indulge in outpouring of joy at the buzzer. "
When you win against Spain, it marks the spirits but we are not there for that
", relativizes Dika Mem, wanting to keep a cool head. “
We are here to win and go to the end.
In a great day, Nedim Remili seemed unstoppable (9 goals, 90% success) and Vincent Gérard made the necessary saves.
Eleven in total, including one in the final second of the first period to join the locker room with six goals ahead at the break (18-12).
Unlike the previous match against Germany, led by a time of six lengths, this time they have not loosened the grip against the double European champions Spain (2018 and 2020).
What should be remembered is that our weak times lasted less
," underlines Vincent Gérard.
We put everything on the table so that the meal is of quality
", appreciates Guillaume Gille.
For now, around our necks, we just have our accreditation, no medal yet.
Guillaume Gille's men have shown in this Olympic tournament that they should be reckoned with. They come back from afar: from a hasty exit in the first round of Euro 2020 which cost former coach Didier Dinart his place. The Egyptian World Cup in January brought them closer to the top of the world hierarchy. Still, they had been quite clearly dominated by these same Spaniards in the small final (35-29), as before in the half against Sweden (32-26). "
We can have been brilliant as we have been in recent days and experience a big disillusionment in the quarterfinals
», Warns Guillaume Gille, Olympic champion in 2008 and 2012 with the Experts, but who remembers the example of 2004 where France had won everything in the group stage before crashing against Russia in the first match in direct elimination. His goalkeeper Gérard sums up the general feeling as follows: “
For the moment, around our necks, we just have our accreditation, not yet a medal.