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Handball: at Le Mans, the Blues warm up the engine before the World Cup


A week before its entry into the World Cup against Poland in… Poland, the France team is playing two preparatory matches.

It's called the "Tournoi de France" and it's taking place this week in two cities, Le Mans and then Orléans, which will take the opportunity on January 7 to inaugurate its brand new 10,000-seat Arena.

Paris was looking for a large hall to host the Olympic tournament in 2024 and 150 km away, Orléans has just built one.

But that's another debate.

Beyond this somewhat prestigious name hide two preparation matches for the 2023 World Cup (January 11 to 29 in Poland and Sweden) for the Blues of Guillaume Gille and Nikola Karabatic who said he wanted to continue his career until in 2024.

In a week, on January 11 at 8:45 p.m., the Olympic champions will set off to conquer a new title of world champion.

It would be the seventh for a French team which has not triumphed since 2017. The ascent to the title will nevertheless be very perilous and the Blues will attack it from the north face with the opening match of the World Cup against Poland. Poland.

“We are preparing for a very tough and contested competition, projects the coach.

In addition to the first sesame issued for the next Games (France is obviously automatically qualified as the organizing country), the World Cup will determine the nations that will participate in the qualifying tournaments (TQO).

All the teams will want to perform and for us, who are already qualified,

we will embark on the World Cup adventure with enormous ambition and the desire to win this competition.

In the first round, they will then face Saudi Arabia and Slovenia.


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This opening match will certainly set the tone of the tournament and the French will already have to be on top.

It is for this reason that the two warm-up matches that are coming up are important.

It starts with a confrontation against the Netherlands (live on BeINsport, 8:45 p.m.) this Wednesday in the Antarès room at Le Mans with the Parisian Luc Steins opposite.

It is an opponent that France generally masters well: in 47 confrontations, the Blues have won 35 times and the last setback dates back to 1985.

Saturday in Orleans, the Olympic champions one of the two other teams registered in this tournament of France: Egypt or the Czech Republic which also compete in Le Mans.

The two winners will meet face to face in the Loiret: “We will be full of energy, because we have the chance to play in front of our supporters in two magnificent stadiums.

We will be able to experiment in real conditions with the associations of players, to gauge the forces present, to draw the outlines of the team brought to play the World Cup, resumes Guillaume Gille.

These two meetings should allow us to ramp up, to have two dress rehearsals before plunging a little coldly into the fervor of the Katowice hall where we will face Poland.


A stone's throw from the 24-hour circuit, the coach will test his troops, ghosts and neophytes who will try to find a place in the list of 20 names reduced to 18 on Sunday.

For each World Cup match, the coach will be able to choose 16 players from these 18. The returning Elohim Prandi (PSG, 24, 10 caps) and Thibaud Briet (Nantes, 23, 13 caps) are applying for a full-back position left where Timothey Nguessan (injured) is missing and Kyllian Villeminot with a knee injury left the Blues on Tuesday.

Montpellier goalkeeper Charles Bolzinger (22) should know his first cap this week.

In addition to that of Nguessan, Gille is faced with the package for the World Cup of left winger Hugo Descat, replaced by Parisian Mathieu Grébille, in the absence of the revelation of Euro 2022 Karl Konan, injured in the foot.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2023-01-04

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