Guillaume Gille and the Blues will face Hungary in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.


Petr David Josek / POOL / AFP

  • New to the post of coach and deprived of his leader Nikola Karabatic, Guillaume Gille seeks to empower his players as much as possible.

  • With his staff, he set up the "game council", a small committee meeting with the locker room executives to facilitate communication in the group.

It is a detail which was passed under our radars but not among those of our colleagues.

In the schedule that the French handball team sends each week to the various media, we see that a slot is regularly reserved for "game advice".

Asked about this at a press conference on the eve of the match against Portugal, Luka Karabatic unveiled the outlines of this mysterious project.

“These are video meetings as we can do with the whole team, but with a smaller number of players, with referents at each position, in attack, in defense.

The staff wants to have our


on its methods, its strategies.

We're going to say that it's a kind of pre-meeting to the meeting that we have afterwards, often in the afternoon, with the whole group, where we clearly define all the strategies and the whole plan. game. "

"It completely corresponds to the personality of Guillaume Gille"

A sort of High Jedi Council, this small committee meeting allows the staff to define a direction and lines of work in accordance with the voices that carry in the locker room, then responsible for bringing down the information.

As for its exact composition, it is secret defense.

"It's something that belongs to us, we prefer to keep it to ourselves", explains Karabatic.

We just know that this one is made up of "ten people" and that it is part of it with Kentin Mahé.

If he did not invent anything particularly revolutionary (this kind of practices occasionally existed with Claude Onesta), Guillaume Gille has nevertheless pushed the thing to the point of making it now an almost daily meeting.

In this, he is faithful to the line he set when he took charge of the France team a year ago, namely to adapt his management to his weak experience as a coach, and therefore to listen a lot to the feedback of its executives in order to build a common project accepted by all.

"Even if in the end it is he and his staff who have the last word", thinks the former international Jérôme Fernandez.

"It completely matches the personality of Guillaume Gille, who lacks a bit of benchmarks in this post of coach and it allows him to get the most out of his executives," says former coach Daniel Costantini.

In terms of group dynamics, it can be a very good operation.



can no longer be embodied by one person, it is good that responsibilities are shared ”.

Costantini dubbed the new kid

"There are players who play in different systems depending on the clubs they are in, so it's interesting to free up the floor in order to progress in certain aspects of the game," continues Fernandez.

"Guillaume's initial idea was to make the players as responsible as possible, especially because of the absence of Nikola Karabatic," said the new president of the Fed Philippe Bana.

“It allows us to refocus our interests and our ideas, it's easier to do it in small groups.

The staff gives us a lot of freedom to express ourselves and put things in place, details Kentin Mahé, also a member of this small private club.

It happens, for example, to discuss among ourselves certain game movements during the long journeys we make to go to training or to matches.

There are certain things that we want to try, we submit them to the staff and then it's up to him to validate them or not.

We complement each other well and that helps spread a form of serenity in this group.


A time skeptical in the capacity of the new staff to put this team back on its feet after the porridge served during the last Euro, Daniel Costantini is delighted to see that the mayonnaise is finally taking.

"I had some fears before the World Cup in relation to Guillaume's personality in this position, but he is in the process of finding his own style, it's great", validates the former Beef before the next session of the council of wise men , Wednesday, a few hours before the quarter-final against Hungary.


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