Herning (Denmark) (AFP)
After a sluggish first match won on the wire against Montenegro (24-23), the French handball players will have to move up a gear, Sunday (6.15 p.m.) in Herning (Denmark), against Slovenia for their second match of the 1st round of the l 'Euro-2020.
A victory would secure them a place in the main round with a starting capital of at least two points, and a group final against Denmark to be played on Tuesday (8:30 p.m.), to approach the rest of the competition with maximum confidence.
"We expect a difficult meeting, because it is a team with great potential, it plays well and it is an excellent coach", estimated the coach Olivier Krumbholz on Saturday at a press conference, praising the work of his counterpart Uros Bregar, both with the national team and with Ljubljana in club.
"It's a team that has very big strengths but also lacks in certain positions. It is up to us to play intelligently in defense. Certain sectors of the field are not used to the full," he added.
"I hope that we have done the most difficult in the management of these trap matches. That everyone will be free," said the coach, referring to the complicated match against Montenegro on Friday.
Against Slovenia, the rear base will be particularly scrutinized, after missing out on its match against Montenegro, especially on long shots (3 out of 17 to 9 meters).
The Bisontine Aïssatou Kouyaté, who came into play in the last ten minutes for her first international tournament with the Blue, was the brightening of the meeting by turning it alone.
Led by right-back Ana Gros, who is enjoying the heyday of Brest in the French championship and the Champions League, Slovenia is up against the wall after its defeat against Denmark on Friday (30-23).
"She is a girl who invests 100% in what she does. She is not afraid to take responsibility. We know that she is an executive player. She will give even more, because 'There is a chance to see the main round for Slovenia, "said France right-winger Pauline Coatanéa, of her teammate from Brest.
Slovenia surprised France for its first match at the 2017 World Cup in Germany.
The team from the small republic of the former Yugoslavia was strengthened with the arrival of Elizabeth Omoregie, born in Athens to a Nigerian father and a Bulgarian mother, naturalized Slovenian at the end of 2017 and who is making her debut with the selection.
With Metz left-back Tjasa Stanko and the return to the selection of right-back Barbara Lazovic, the Slovenes can aim for a qualification for the main round, which they have not achieved in the European Championship since 2012 ( 12th place).
© 2020 AFP