Handball: France returns to victory in Croatia

France’s women’s national team returned to action after losing the World Cup final in December to Norway, and returned to win on Thursday in Croatia, in the framework of the second stage of qualifying for the European Nations Cup 2022. Their first double confrontation against the squared players and consolidated their first position in Group arrangement. It now remains to be confirmed on Sunday in Toulouse (5:30pm).

On this trip, Olivier Krumholtz has had to deal with new elements, in the absence of Paulita Fuba, Kalidiato Nyakate and the injured Orlan Aanda. Deborah Lassours (22), captain of Paris 92, is joined by Coralie, her sister (also captain), as well as Sarah Bouquette (19), Metz. Though initially experienced, the Tricolores struggled to break (7-7, 20), in an early game that saw goalkeeper Laura Glauser come off injured. In the break, they made the difference (8-12).

Returning from the locker room, the Croats still did not admit defeat to the Olympic champions. The gap between three and four goals settled, but Cleopatri Darlow was unable to stop the opposing attacks in their cages. The end of the match was nerve-wracking and Croatia came back again (19-20, 57) in a fiery atmosphere. Croatia ended up outnumbered and Deborah Lassure scored the rescue goal.

At the beginning of the week, the coach said: “These two meetings are very important, we are keen to stand out once and for all in this group (which also includes Ukraine and the Czech Republic) where the competition is fierce. It is the beginning of a long 30-month work. We are excited for the 2024 Games.”

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After Croatia on Sunday, the rest of these qualifications will take place in just over a month. France will receive the Czech Republic on April 20 in Le Havre, and then, news permitting, the Ukrainians (23), are still in Le Havre. “Hopefully we’ll meet them, Krumholz strikes. We were with them three months ago, and we’ve been wonderfully welcomed. They are adored. What’s happening in Ukraine is horrific and unacceptable.”


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