At the World of handball, all is well for the Blues. The large victory acquired against Saudi Arabia (41-23), Saturday in Katowice in Poland, allowed The french team to validate their qualification for the main round.
All the lights are therefore green before facing Slovenia on Monday at the end of the preliminary round, except for one, at left-back, where Elohim Prandi lacks rhythm and confidence. However easy it may be, success against the Saudis will not be of any use to France in the main round, since only the points acquired against the other qualified teams will be retained.
Dika Mem resting
The team of Guillaume Gilles, victorious over Poland in the opening round (26-24), will therefore have to beat the Slovenians in order to get out of this first round with four points. A success all the more crucial after the Slovenian victory against Poland in the evening (32-23): a defeat and the Blues would enter the main round two points behind them. “We know that Monday, there will be more to think about,” said the coach.
Against Saudi Arabia, Gille was able to rest right-back Dika Mem, a key player “on the crazy program for the past six months”. The Barcelonan joined the captain on rest Luka Karabatic, still injured in the back. Right winger Valentin Porte has returned after missing the opener with a thigh problem. “I’m not 100% yet but it hasn’t gotten worse, I was able to run, play a little in defense, which I wanted. Now, it’s the sequence that will be important. I have to pick up the pace a bit, ”said the former captain.
His teammate in Montpellier, goalkeeper Charles Bolzinger, had his first selection at the age of 22, entering at the end of the match at the relay of his competitor in the Hérault Rémi Desbonnet. Who had himself replaced, successfully (6 out of 12 saves), in the second half Vincent Gérard (5/19).
Prandi “must rebuild his trust capital”
Gille was also able, in the second half, to breathe his two pivots (Tournat and Fabregas) in defense and give playing time to Romain Lagarde (1/3). At Prandi’s relay who, after having started well (2/2), seriously lost his footing, between shooting failures (31st, 3/5 in the end) and bad passes (38th). “I feel like I don’t have the right timing, the right rhythm. I don’t want to find excuses, ”commented the PSG player, author of a very good first part of the club season.
But the international level, which he finds after more than a year of absence after being stabbed on the night of December 31, 2021 to January 1, 2022, is a notch above, underlined Gille. “He must rebuild his capital of confidence at international level,” noted the coach. This will be the opportunity to do so on Monday against Slovenia.