Luc Abalo and his teammates found their teeth during preparation matches. (Afp photo)
A slap and it returned? Dispossessed of their European title in January, at the end of a disastrous tournament concluded in eleventh place, French handballeurs found a challenge at their vertiginous top to bounce: retain an Olympic title. No team handball did again and this challenge please to the band of Claude Onesta, sacred to Beijing, champion of Europe in 2010 and double world champion.
“It took full teeth”, said Bertrand Gille on the Serbian fiasco which has done a lot of noise but has not resulted in revolution, since these are the same players that found in London.
Instead all upset, Claude Onesta preferred refine settings, reposition a few players, relying on a long preparation, the same as before Beijing, to start at the top. “We tried to make our most dangerous game on all positions”, said Daniel Narcisse, now guard instead of Nikola Karabatic, to the position of left back.
“It is true that it should evolve in our game.” But to be mainly that it is a real physical preparation. “When one is well prepared physically, it played with more determination, more accuracy and our defence becomes a true wall”, adds Captain Jerome Fernandez.
The preparation, despite a final match lost to the Hungary, confirmed that the Blues had found their teeth. Enough to swallow the competition as the most beautiful days again? “It was in any case given the means, even if the level is balanced and that there are more candidates than four years ago”, said Fernandez who cites Denmark, champion of Europe, Croatia, “which is really in force” and Spain, “still a serious candidate”, as key rivals.
A team of bric and broc
After a highly distortive draw, these three teams are all in the other group, authentically “fatal”, with more Serbia, silver to the Euro, the Hungary and South Korea.
The France on the other hand inherited an accessible group with the Argentina, the Tunisia, the Iceland, the Sweden and Great Britain, a team consisting of bric and broc and which can be expected to be crushed this evening (20 h 30). “On a chance.” “It will have to be ready for the second part of the competition,” said Fernandez, who had followed the end of the Beijing route since forums a broken hand and who would like to “help end this time” with a generation that should continue until the 2013 world in Spain.
“There is a good side to live our last Olympiad and on a desire to live, he said.” What happened to the Euro, is to file a little. When we look behind, you look rather the past four years and four years, there have been three titles. It is rather pleased in that sense. »