Olympic champions a little over five months ago in Tokyo, the French started the Euro with a victory against Croatia (27-20) this Thursday in Szeged (Hungary). They will face Ukraine on Saturday (18h) and Serbia on Monday (20h20).
Successful entry. Despite absences and a preparation disrupted by the coronavirus, French handball players started the Euro well 2022 with a victory against Croatia (27-20) this Thursday evening in Szeged (Hungary). With in particular a very great Dika Mem (6 goals) and a decisive Vincent Gérard (15 saves).
Just five months after their Olympic title won in Tokyo, Nikola Karabatic and her gang were treated to a big chunk for their long-awaited comeback in the arena. Facing the Croats, vice-champions of Europe two years ago, but deprived for this meeting of their two best players who tested positive for coronavirus, Luka Cindric and Domagoj Duvnjak, the Blues started very strong, before weakening at the end of the First period. The tension rose a notch during the second act, but they were able to remain as solid as they were serene, unlike David Mandic, logically excluded at the 48e for a gross foul on Kentin Mahé. The beginning of the end for Croatia, which never managed to come back and even ended up losing by five goals.
Karabatic savors “a controlled match”
France attacks this Euro with a renewed workforce compared to the last Olympics between those who have retired (Michaël Guigou, Luc Abalo, Yann Genty…) and those who had to give up this competition due to injury (Timothey N’Guessan, Nedim Remili and Luka Karabatic). Not enough to reduce the ambitions of this team, which will continue on Saturday against Ukraine (18h). In a formula of a Euro with 20 teams and two group stages, it will be necessary to win again to get closer to the next round.
“It was a difficult match. We started well, then Croatia came back, we gave up easy goals. But we defended well. It’s a controlled match. We knew that winning this first match was essential. It’s a victory that validates our work. It was a trap match, we’re going to rest well now”, commented Nikola Karabatic at the microphone of beIN Sports.