First big meeting for Les Bleues against the Netherlands

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First big meeting for Les Bleues against the Netherlands

It’s the color that at each competition immediately stimulates their hunting instinct, their taste for fighting. Orange is on the menu of Les Bleues on Wednesday evening (8:30 p.m.), opposed to their great Dutch rivals. A clash between 2021 Olympic champions and 2019 world champions, between two of the last unbeaten teams of this Euro. In the event of a new victory after those, brilliant, against North Macedonia (24-14) and Romania (35-21), France would already have one foot in the last four. The appointment is marked on the agenda whatever the issue. For a big decade, the Netherlands have been the opponent that the French like to hate, from the youth competitions. And reciprocally. ” We get along maybe a little better off the field whereas before we hardly spoke to each othersays Béatrice Edwige. But the rivalry on the field of handball is still as important. »

“We took a big slap at the Olympics, it’s hard to turn the page on a match like this”

Debbie Bont, Netherlands right winger

There were painful setbacks as in the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup (25-28), then several hard-fought victories, until the triumphant quarter of the Tokyo Olympics (32-22). A duel which was spiced up by the presence at the head of the Oranges, at the time, of the coach of Metz, Emmanuel Mayonnade. ” It’s always special to face Francesmiled Monday Debbie Bont, the Batavian right winger of Metz, a gleam of defiance in the eye. We took a big slap at the Olympics, it’s hard to turn the page on a match like this. It hurts, but it also makes you really want to play a good game against them. »

Once again, there is a lack of big names among the Dutch, boss Lois Abbingh and goalkeeper Tess Wester, who are pregnant, but, as with the Blues, the collective does not seem to be affected. With each ball recovery, the players of the new Swedish coach Per Johansson play an ultra-fast game in the wake of Inger Smits and Jenny Dulfer. Back after maternity, serious injuries and a painful break with his Danish club Odense, star left-back Estavana Polman, MVP of the 2019 World Cup, is slowly gaining momentum. “The priority will be to slow down their game “, announces Olivier Krumbholz, who will perhaps not make new changes after the convincing entries of Pauline Coatanéa and Orlane Kanor against the Romanians.

Monday evening, on returning from the Boris-Trajkovski arena after the match, the French women found the door closed at the entrance to their refectory room and had to hang around for a while before being able to taste their eternal broccoli too raw and their pasta too cooked. On Wednesday evening, they intend to smash the first gate to the semi-finals.

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