Blues without certainty at the World Cup

Repeat, redo, repeat, tirelessly. Guillaume Gille will have had plenty of time in recent months to revise the Myth of Sisyphus. Appointed coach of the French men’s handball team after the Euro fiasco in January 2020 (elimination in the first round, a first), the former international waited nearly a year to lead the Blues in a match official – against Serbia in a double confrontation, on January 5 and 9. Blame it on Covid-19, which postponed the Olympic qualifying tournament, scheduled for April 2020, then the qualifying matches for Euro 2022, scheduled for October, against Belgium and Greece.

A year of doubts, questions, questioning, for a “Team during reconstruction”. With, sometimes, the feeling of living “A nightmare, a long tunnel from which one never leaves”, according to the Chamber technician himself in an interview with The team early January.

“We find ourselves without sequences, without training, without matches, without the possibility of meeting… We had to make, undo, constantly redo, plans A, B, C, D”, analyzes with hindsight the one who readily compares the course of the Blues to a long ascent to lead them to Olympic gold, in Tokyo, in August.

Read also Handball: the French team engaged in a “reconstruction process”

Here is now Guillaume Gille at the foot of a first summit: the World Handball Championship, which takes place from January 13 to 31 in Egypt. The French team will make its debut on January 14, against Norway – two reigning vice-world champions – before facing Austria and then Switzerland (January 16 and 18).

“Far from his level”

The obstacle of the preliminary round does not seem insurmountable for a French team which has in its ranks players playing in the biggest European clubs (around ten internationals participated in the Final Four of the Champions League at the end of December).

Eighths of the last Euro, the Austrians are not a real threat. As for the Swiss, they owe their presence in Egypt only to package, on the eve of the start of the competition, of the United States team, decimated by cases of Covid in its ranks – shortly after that of the Czech selection (group G). A last-minute change that does not do France’s business, however, the Swiss selection is a much tougher opponent than Team USA.

Especially that the Blues do not present themselves at the foot of the pyramids of Giza under their best profile. A defeat on January 5 in Serbia during qualifying for Euro 2022, followed by a draw, four days later, snatched in the last moments of the return match, brought back the ills from which the Blues suffered a year ago. year: permeable defense, lack of inspiration in attack, approximate ball climbs… There are many projects.

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