Handball: the Blues dominate Brazil four days before the start of the Euro

The Blues were not perfect, but they provided the essentials this Saturday against Brazil (37-28). Before taking off for Germany for Euro 2024 (January 10-28), the Tricolores completed their preparation in Nantes to settle the final details before the competition. The French team presented a slightly different team from the one that outclassed Tunisia two days earlier (35-26). Nikola Karabatic (contusion to the left knee) and Yanis Lenne (low back pain) were preserved. For their part, Charles Bolzinger and Kentin Mahé remained in the stands.

Where the start of the match was lacking on Thursday, Guillaume Gille’s men this time did not wait to take off. After just five minutes, the Blues had a lead of 4 goals while in the absence of Vincent Gérard – excluded from the selection – Rémi Desbonnet made several saves to gain confidence. The French team, however, suffered from a lack of realism in attack throughout the first period.

Benoît Kounkoud recalled by Guillaume Gille

Stumbling several times against the defense and the Brazilian goalkeeper, the Blues let their opponents come back while sometimes rushing their attacks. At the end of the first period, captain Luka Karabatic was even temporarily excluded. The two teams returned to the locker rooms tied (14-14).

The second act seemed to give birth to a similar scenario, but France ended up waking up. The reigning Olympic champions scored 6 goals in a row to give themselves a comfortable margin (24-18, 42nd). Kiel goalkeeper Samir Bellahcene even scored his first goal for the selection. Enough to make the Nantes H Arena roar.

The Olympic champions can now fully turn towards competition. They will get to the heart of the matter against North Macedonia on January 10 in Düsseldorf. They will then challenge Switzerland (January 14) then Germany (January 16) for the first round.

Kielce winger Benoît Kounkoud was recalled by coach Guillaume Gille for the Euro. Unlike the Nantes players Thibaud Briet and Aymeric Minne, who were not selected, Benoît Kounkoud appears in the list of 19 players among whom Guillaume Gille will have to check sixteen names for each match.

The recall of the former Paris Saint-Germain player comes “due to Yanis Lenne’s symptoms of lower back pain” on the right wing, explained Guillaume Gille in the press release released by the Federation.

The group of nineteen

Goalkeepers: Samir Bellahcene (Kiel/GER), Charles Bolzinger (Montpellier), Rémi Desbonnet (Montpellier)

Demi-centres : Kentin Mahé (Veszprem/HUN), Nedim Remili (Veszprem/HUN)

Left backs: Nikola Karabatic (PSG), Timothey N’Guessan (Barcelona/ESP), Elohim Prandi (PSG)

Right-backs: Dika Mem (Barcelona/ESP), Melvyn Richardson (Barcelona/ESP)

Ailiers gauches : Hugo Descat (Veszprem/HUN), Dylan Nahi (Kielce/POL)

Right wingers: Yanis Lenne (Montpellier), Valentin Porte (Montpellier), Benoît Kounkoud (Kielce/POL)

Pivots: Ludovic Fabregas (Veszprem/HUN), Luka Karabatic (PSG), Karl Conan (Montpellier), Nicolas Tournat (Kielce/POL)


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