The France team says thank you, thank you and thank you again.
Against Germany in the quarter-finals of the world championship (35-28) on January 25, Rémi Desbonnet (14 saves, 47% efficiency) was exceptional.
“Rémi gave us an incredible match, which clearly helped us to win,” summarizes boss Nikola Karabatic.
He was certainly not alone but it was he who qualified the Blues for the last four of the world championship.
“We had a very special preparation for the match with the first match which lasted, lasted (victory for Spain after two extensions against Norway), he analyzes.
We warmed up in the corridor, we had very little time on the pitch, the protocol was accelerated.
I don't know if that explains the average start to the match.
In there, it's not the easiest moment for a goalkeeper, but for all that, we managed to stay in it, to stay glued to the score.
You mustn't get carried away, because that requires confirmation.
In the meantime, it's magic.
THE BLUES WILL GO TO STOCKHOLM!!
– French Handball Teams (@FRAHandball) January 25, 2023
It is the second goalkeeper of the Blues who closed the door to the Germans, put the fence on the defense, put the French team back in place when things were not going well.
“It's not that often that we see stuff like that,” he adds.
It's the first time for me in this case, I'm in there.
It was definitely the most important game of my career in terms of stakes, the kind of stuff you dream of when you're a kid, you walk into the room and you want to do like the grown-ups.
It was very cool.
We are already looking at the half but we must also know how to take advantage.
Few believed in him
The Montpellier goalkeeper, club to which he returned last summer after 9 years spent in Nîmes next door, has had the best of his 21 matches in Blue.
From far away.
He, who was said to be unfit for such a position because he was too small, too frail, arrived late at the highest level in parallel with a career in beachhand, takes revenge on many things.
Maybe just fate.
“Rémi has gained experience and maturity.
He is a player of the France team and his performances are regular.
He's a player we want to have in our squad,” summarizes Patrice Canayer, his coach in Montpellier.
“He's a great goalkeeper, I played three years with him (in Nîmes) and I know what he is capable of.
He clearly has the international level.
He made our match completely different” also pays tribute to Elohim Prandi.
Number 2 in the hierarchy of the Blues behind Vincent Gérard whom he replaced on Wednesday for more than 50 minutes, Rémi Desbonnet remains, at 30, a too little known goalkeeper.
His track record is starving compared to all his friends in the France team: just a Coupe de France won in 2013 with Montpellier.
With the Blues, he stayed too long at the door, deprived of the Tokyo Games at the last moment because we could only bring two goalkeepers (Vincent Gérard and Yann Genty).
Last year, for the last Euro, he was still number 3, the one who plays very little and bides his time in silence.
"Yes, I'm moved because I'm not going to teach you anything by telling you that there was a lot of doubt around me," he continues.
But there are also a lot of people who believed in me, and I'm thinking of them.
We've been away for a month but I want to take my phone to tell them…”
Yet Desbonnet never complained.
In the France group, everyone boasts of their camaraderie and good humor: “Those who know me know that I always have something to say.
But there…, he analyzed Wednesday evening, looking for his words.
The challenge, when you're a goalkeeper for this France team, is to put yourself at the level of all the players you have in front of you.
“He achieved this feat: to be at the height of a great team: “With the stakes, the world watching.
Do like the grown-ups, like the players of the France team! Damn, yeah, damn…” he shouts with a furious fist and a smile on his lips.