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France is reassured by clearly beating Croatia

The French handball players ideally launched their European Championship, dominating Croatia (27-22), on January 13, in Hungary. At the end of a controlled match, the France team overcame an opponent as it weakened by a cascade of forfeits.

The confrontations between France and Croatia are no longer as epic as in the days of the “Strong” and “Experts”, but the rivalry between these two great handball nations remains strong. The atmosphere in the Pick Arena in Szeged was all the warmer as the number of Croatian supporters had come out – Croatia is a border country to Hungary -, and that France had eliminated Croatia in the qualifiers for the Tokyo Games in March 2021.

“We started well, then we complicated the game with loss of ball. In goals, Vincent Gérard pulled off a big match. We played smart in attack. Overall, we have mastered this match well ”Nikola Karabatic told beIN Sports after the meeting.

A good start to the match for the Blues

The main French satisfaction came from defense. Throughout the game, the red and white checkered players struggled to find favorable shooting positions. Alongside Ludovic Fabregas, Karl Konan, the left-back of Aix, who is playing his first international competition, was convincing.

He was eagerly awaited because he replaces Luka Karabatic, injured in the right thigh and forfeit the Euro. Nikola Karabatic’s younger brother was a mainstay of the Blues’ defense during the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Well helped by his two laps of defense, the goalkeeper Vincent Gérard has multiplied the prowess in the tricolor cages, with 14 parries. The porter of Paris SG had however largely missed the preparation of the Blues because of a family tragedy before Christmas.

In attack Dika Mem, the Barcelona star, was in constant danger at 9 meters. Hugo Descat on the left wing was also effective. The two players finish best scorers of the meeting. The only downside, the relative weakness of the bench, the players who came into play on the French side had trouble getting up to the level of the holders.

Read also Euro handball: Valentin Porte, at the service of the Blues

The Blues made a good start to the match, led by a Dika Mem on fire. The Croatian defense taking water, the coach of the red and white asked for a first time out after 9 minutes, while France led 7 to 2. After 15 minutes of play, the Croats had scored only three goals.

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