Tokyo Olympics: the Battantes in the hand final

Tokyo Olympic Games 2021 file

The French handball team won in the semi-finals of the Games against Sweden and will face Sunday for the gold medal the winner of the match between Norway and Russia.

Should we still expect another BHV (Basket-Hand-Volley) grand slam in the semi-final? After these gentlemen the day before, the women of the hand annihilated a tough Sweden on Friday (28 – 26) to find the Olympic final and give yourself a opportunity to grab gold, the only title missing from their charts. The basketball players can imitate them in stride and complete the five out of five of the teams of the sport co tricolor.

“The key will be the defense ”, warned Allison Pineau before the meeting. It was in part. Discipline and diligence behind: the French have been confined there for two meetings after having grazed the correctional in the group stage. Blame it on unusual flaws in the rear. Ironically, the click came after the fourth group match against… Sweden. A draw with a cruel scenario – a final missed penalty from Grace Zaadi – forced Coralie Lassource’s teammates to start a meeting in a hurry. Necessary. To clarify certain points.

Quantified objectives The observation had not escaped anyone: average goals conceded over the first four meetings, not worthy of a training just distinguished vice-champion of Europe 2020. “We set goals: between 9 and 11 goals taken at half time and between 20 and 23 at the end of the match ”, explained the pivot Béatrice Edwige after Brazil. Pile the total of goals conceded against the Brazilians and then the Dutch (20). “Having these quantified objectives, that allowed us to have a base ”, judged the defender.

The objective was straightforward. Even being complicated to keep up against Swedish women in full flurry: in the previous round, the players of Tomas Axnér eliminated South Korea (38 – 30), leading from start to finish without ever to scare. Record of goals scored in knockout match tied (as South Korea, in 1992, the knockout stage being appeared in 512). In this context – cleaver match and Swedes on fire -, limit the Scandinavians to 26 goals constitute, in themselves, a great achievement.

From At the start, Jamina Roberts and her family, novices in the Olympic semi, continued their quarterback momentum, quickly leading 5-2 against the timid French women. Two jets of seven meters missed entry and a miss from Pauline Coatanea did not help to get into it. The French first relied on Zaadi, author of four of the first six French goals. Then the combinations Estelle Nze Minko-Beatrice Edwige and the vista of Chloé Valentini allowed them to track the Swedes, carried by Johanna Westberg (6 goals) and Jamina Roberts (5 goals) always as precise when it comes to concluding. bullet in hand (respectively 75 and 63 % of success).

Three achievements of the captain Allison Pineau in the first half have again kept the Blue in the meeting. As for the men the day before, we had to wait a while – 22 minutes and a goal from Chloé Valentini – for the French to take the lead for the first time in the match .

High and aggressive defense The Scandinavians n don’t like to attack tall defenses. Olivier Krumbholz and the French staff know this well. They made it clear to their people that the best way to disrupt the Swedish offensive sequences was to press them off, like Estelle Nze Minko, who often came to annoy the Swedish rear.

Aggressiveness may be too counterproductive at times, like the four times two minutes suffered in the first period. Difficult to hope to give air by being so little complete. This was perhaps one of the necessary setbacks in order to contain the Swedish fiery attack. Because in front of a goal (14 – 14)) At the break, Allison Pineau’s teammates were suffocated on the restart, conceding three goals in quick succession. A return to business illustrated by Jenny Carlson, who somehow kept hers within range (six out of eight on shots).

Swedes who decidedly not succeed in Amandine Leynaud. Magistral in quarters (20 stops at 50%), Gyori’s keeper fell back into her hens, unable to guess the opposing trajectories (3 stops on 16 To 19%).

Yes but here it is: the France has two excellent goalkeepers at their post. And Cléopatre Darleux fully assumed its role (7 stops on 20 To 35%), pulling out several high-class stops, including a memorable double parade five minutes from time. France also has a rich collective, where everyone can get out of their box at any time. In the second period, the heroines were named Pauletta Foppa (five goals), Océane Sercien-Ugolin (three goals), Laura Flippes (three goals). The work of undermining in defense, this French rigor, did the rest, exhausting and increasing the Swedish offensives. The last fatal bullet loss to the Swedes at 28 – 27 in the last minute is no accident.

Laura Flippes congratulated herself on the game plan put in place by the team after the match: “We took goals on the strategies we put in in place and that we have not managed to execute. But we stayed in our position. Within the framework we had set for ourselves. We knew that as and when it was going to work. ” Five years after Rio, the “Battantes” return to the final. Like the handball players, they could find their executioner there, since the Russian Olympic Committee (understand Russia) is playing in stride.

Update 20210727 to 04 h 50 with statement by Laura Flippes.

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