The Frenchman Luc Abalo against Belarus, at the Handball Euro 16 January 2018 in Porec
That’s it ! The French handball players have finished with the first phase of the Euro-2018, after their third victory in three games against Belarus on Tuesday (32-25), and are now turning to the main round in Zagreb.
With this clear, they will start the next round of the competition with 4 points, the maximum possible, a very good option for the match promised Saturday against the Blues against Croatia, the host country raging public.
This confrontation against the Croats is in fact expected by the team of Didier Dinart for a long time already and the danger for the Blues was to neglect this match against Belarus.
Remaining on the bench against Austria after leaving much energy against Norway, the executives have returned to the field. And it is with his team type, including the former Michaël Guigou and Luc Abalo, that France started the game.
The right-back Nedim Remili, however, was missing the call, touched back and spared by the staff of the Blues.
For a good part of the first half, the partners of the pivot of Saint-Raphaël Artsem Karalek showed why they should not be taken lightly.
They put in danger the Blues on fast play and assured in defense. But they also stumbled on a big Vincent Gerard in goals, author of three 7-meter jet stops, and a Dika Mem in form (4 goals in the first period).
At halftime, the Blues were happy to leave the locker room with a lead of +3 (14-11).
– Luka Karabatic back? –
The result was more fluid for the French, who quickly widened the gap, increased to +8 (26-18) after just over 45 minutes, thanks to the interventions of Valentin Porte or Kentin Mahé.
A much stronger defense in the second act allowed them to score several goals in the counterattack.
The Belarusians then took advantage of the temporary exclusion of Kentin Mahé to return to four goals (28-24) but it was too late to worry the French.
After a week spent on the Porec side, a quiet fishing port in northern Croatia, head to the capital Zagreb for the main tour.
The Blues now enjoy three days off before their next match, which could see the return of precious Luka Karabatic. The pivot did not play in the first three games due to an ankle injury but resumed training on Monday.