Herning (Denmark) (AFP)
One year after their last clash in official competition, the French and Danish handball players meet on Tuesday evening (8:30 p.m.) in Herning (Denmark), for the last match of the first round with precious points at stake in the race to the last four of the Euro-2020.
After two first round matches against Slovenia and Montenegro, the two favorite teams in Group A have four points on the clock and are guaranteed to end up in the main round with at least two points.
Their duel is no less crucial: each point is essential to try to grab one of the first two places in the group of the main round, synonymous with qualifying for the last four, while Russia, Olympic champion 2016, s announces as the other serious contender despite the injuries.
"This is the scenario that the Danish TVs were hoping for. We are happy too. I think that with such an enterprising defense, we can give them big problems. By being a little better in attack, we should be operational. ", underlines the coach of the France team, Olivier Krumbholz.
"One of the keys to the match will be to have a minimum of waste in front of their goalkeeper Sandra Toft, who we know well because she plays in France," in Brest, he said.
"You can clearly see the strengths and weaknesses of this team."
The last official match of the French, reigning European champions (2018), against Denmark is a bad memory: the defeat (20-18) conceded on the last day of the first round of the 2019 World Cup in Kumamoto was synonymous with elimination of the reigning world champions (2017), who did not return to their competition in Japan.
- "We are launched" -
Twelve months later, the Bleues managed their first two matches much better, concluded with two victories (24-23 against Montenegro and 27-17 against Slovenia).
"It made me happy to find this France team. I have the impression that we are launched. We are really good mentally and I think that we sent a big message to the opponents", considers Alexandra Lacrabère, about the demonstration against Slovenia.
In addition, the atmosphere within the group is totally different from Kumamoto, despite a heavy context linked to the health bubble put in place.
"This Euro has nothing to do with the World Cup-2019: it's a different atmosphere, another energy. We will give our all," Pauline Coatanéa explained after the first match.
Between the World Cup-2019 and Euro-2020, due to the spring confinement, the French women only once faced Denmark in a friendly, during the first stage of the Golden League, and had won by four goals ( 27-23).
A victory on Tuesday night would strengthen the French message: the French are indeed candidates to keep their continental title, which only Denmark (1994/96) and Norway (2004/06/08/10 and 2014/16) have managed to do, in 14 editions.
© 2020 AFP