Objective achieved: France is in the semi-finals of the Hungarian-Slovak Handball Euro. The fourth and final match of the main round, played on Wednesday January 26 in Budapest against Denmark, has long looked like a real way of the cross for the Blues.
After being led for 56 minutes, the Habs ended up winning by a small goal (30-29), while a draw was enough for them to qualify. France finished first in their group ahead of their victim of the day.
In this same hall of the MVM dome in Budapest, they will face Sweden on Friday, who qualified against Norway on Tuesday, also in the last minutes of a suspenseful meeting. Despite its victory (34-24) against Montenegro earlier in the afternoon, Iceland is eliminated; the Icelanders had however crushed the French (29-21) four days earlier.
“We went through all the states. We hung on and we ended up reversing the steam. As much as we started badly, we showed a lot of soul in the second half. Our goalkeeper Vincent Gérard made the necessary saves in the last ten minutes., summarized at the microphone of BeIN Sports Erick Mathé, who replaces the coach Guillaume Gille, affected by the Covid-19, on the bench of the Blues.
“Many saw us losing quickly in this Euro, but the objective has been achieved: we are in the last four. We missed our start to the match, but we didn’t give up. We stayed five goals apart for a long time. We threw ourselves on all the balls. We finish first in our group. I feel like something was born tonight”, added Valentin Porte, the captain of the France team.
In the first period, the French taken by the throat
This victory of the Blues against the favorite of the competition must however be put into perspective because Denmark having already qualified for the semi-finals, the coach Nikolaj Jacobsen had decided to rest three of his best players: the right-back Mathias Gidsel, the pivot Magnus Saugstrup and left-back Mikkel Hansen, usual depositary of the game. On the French side, only the pivot Nicolas Tournat, tested positive for Covid-19, was missing, who joined in solitary confinement the leader Kentin Mahé and the coach Guillaume Gille.
In the first half, the Danes took the French by the throat. Playing liberated, they played their handball smoothly. Everything was going too fast for the Blues. In long shots, left-back Jacob Holm and right-back Niclas Kirkelokke martyred the French defense. As the Danish defense, very mobile, managed to anesthetize the French attackers, the Blues have long seemed helpless, without solution.
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