We meet once again ! Almost two months ago, in Katowice, the Blues had dominated the Poles at the opening of the last World Cup (26-24) and had opened the doors to a formidable adventure stopped in the final against Denmark. This Wednesday (6 p.m.), three days before the return to Aix-en-Provence, they find the same opponent in Gdansk, but in a very different context.
A victory would, in fact, allow France to validate, barring a later cataclysm, its ticket for the Euro (which will take place next January in Germany), a competition which it has never missed and which it won. three times.
Faced with the most experienced team in the group, Guillaume Gille does not take half measures: “These are two decisive matches, warns the coach of the Blues. For us, the challenge is to show and confirm the progress shown during the last World Championship. I expect a very difficult game. There is a little more at stake than beating Poland. Beyond qualification, we don’t want to leave anything to anyone. »
In Gdansk, Guillaume Gille has a group of eighteen players. In the absence of Nikola Karabatic, are added the packages of Montpellier Yanis Lenne (left wrist) and Hugo Descat (right knee). The coach therefore chose to call Benoît Kounkoud. The former Parisian, now a right winger for the Polish club Kielce, had prepared for the last World Championship before leaving the group in early January due to an injury to the aponeurosis of his right foot. Like his teammates Nicolas Tournat and Dylan Nahi, he joined the French team directly on Monday in Gdansk.
“Depending on the present and the injured, I will have to compose while relying nevertheless largely on the framework of the World Cup, continues the coach. Bringing those who are already in Poland directly allows them to recover better after a nice marathon in the Champions League. I found everyone with a lot of pleasure, shared with all the staff and players. We all want to immerse ourselves in the rest of the international competition. »
Luka Karabatic, the captain, is just as confident in the strength of the French team: “We know how important Niko is in the French team, says the pivot of the French team and PSG. We have already had this configuration in the past. This group has many qualities and something to answer for. »
Thanks to their previous successes over Latvia (35-18) and Italy (40-29), the Blues are currently at the top of their rankings, level on points with Poland. After Aix, Saturday (9:10 p.m.), they will have two games left to play against the Latvians (April 26) and the Italians (April 30).