Categories: Sports

Handball: at Le Mans, the Blues warm up the engine before the World Cup

It’s called “Tournoy de France” and is taking place this week in two cities, Le Mans and then Orleans, which will use it on January 7 to open their new 10,000-seat arena. Paris was looking for a big hall to host the Olympic tournament in 2024, and 150 km away, Orléans had just built it. But that’s a different controversy. Behind this rather prestigious name are two 2023 World Cup preparation matches (January 11-29 in Poland and Sweden) for the Blues Guillaume Gilles and Nikola Karabatich, who has said he wants to continue his career until 2024.

A week later, on January 11 at 20:45, the Olympic champions will set off to win a new world title. This will be the seventh match for the French team, who have not won since 2017. “We are preparing for a very tough and intense competition,” the coach predicts. Apart from the first sesame given out for the next Games (France obviously automatically qualifies as the host country), the World Cup will determine the countries that will take part in the qualifying tournaments (TQO). All the teams will want to compete, and we, already qualified, will go on the World Cup adventure with great ambition and desire to win this competition. In the first round they will face Saudi Arabia and Slovenia.

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This opening bout is sure to set the tone for the tournament and the French should be on top by now. It is for this reason that the two upcoming warm-up matches are important. It all starts with the showdown with the Netherlands (live on BeINsport, 20:45) this Wednesday at the Antares Hall in Le Mans with Parisian Luc Steins opposite. This is an opponent that France is generally doing well: in 47 matches, the Blues have won 35 times, and the last setback dates back to 1985.

On Saturday in Orleans, the Olympic champions were one of the other two teams registered for this tournament in France: Egypt or the Czech Republic, which also compete at Le Mans. The two winners will face each other in the Loire: “We will be full of energy because we have the chance to play in front of our fans in two magnificent stadiums. We will be able to experiment with player associations in real conditions, evaluate the forces present, outline the outlines of the team brought to the World Cup, Guillaume Gilles sums up. These two meetings should allow us to gain strength, to have two dress rehearsals before a little cold plunge into the heat of the Katowice hall, where we will meet with Poland. »

A stone’s throw from the 24-hour track, the coach will test his fighters, ghosts and rookies as they try to find a place on a list of 20 names reduced to 18 on Sunday. For each World Cup match, the coach will be able to choose 16 players from those 18. Returning Elohim Prandi (PSG, 24, 10 matches) and Thibaut Brie (Nantes, 23, 13 matches) claim the position of full-back. left where Timothy Nguessan (injured) went missing and Killian Willemino left the Blues with a knee injury on Tuesday. Montpellier goalkeeper Charles Bolsinger (22) is due to play his first game of the game this week. In addition to being Nguessant, Gilles has faced a World Cup package from left winger Hugo Desca, replaced by Parisian Mathieu Greby, in the absence of the opening of Euro 2022, Carl Conan injured in the leg.

Source: Le Parisien