France youngsters show Ukraine no mercy
France earned their second win in two matches at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022, defeating Ukraine 36:23 as round 2 for group C got underway.
It did not take long for France to settle the game, once again thanks to their defence. It had been their strongest point against Croatia and it was again in the first half, as Vincent Gerard and his guards took the upper hand right from throw-off.
Coach Guillaume Gille used the opportunity to rest the players who were on court in the first game against Croatia and the seven making their EHF EURO debuts enjoyed some playing time, with Dylan Nahi and Thibaud Briet making the biggest impression, scoring five and three goals, respectively.
- France proved far superior in the first half, despite Nikola Karabatic being left in the stands. With younger players such as Romain Lagarde and Thibaud Briet adding goals, they were already up by six after 15 minutes played
- the gap between the two teams remained more or less the same for the rest of the game. While Ukraine managed to find some solutions offensively, thanks to Dmytro Horiha, his teammates were far less dangerous defensively
- France took their clearest advantage at 15 goals in the 58th minute and had the luxury to end the game with four players making their EHF EURO debut: Dylan Nahi, Aymeric Minne, Karl Konan and Thibaud Briet
- France’s Romain Lagarde was elected Player of the Match
- France could book their main round ticket if Serbia beat Croatia. Such a result would mean Ukraine have no chance to progress to the next phase of the competition
Always about defence
Conceding only 22 goals against Croatia allowed France to celebrate their first win on Thursday. Against Ukraine, it was mainly due to saves and stolen balls that France secured their second win of the tournament.
By half-time, the five balls stolen by the defence and the seven saves from Vincent Gerard had already put France on the right track. France did not lose their defensive momentum after the break, despite Wesley Pardin replacing Gerard between the posts.
It was my first time in an international competition and I wanted to play my game without feeling the pressure. I have waited five years for this opportunity, and it is a pleasure I was able to do well.
It was a big honour to play against France. I wanted my guys to have fun in the game. Fora long time, we did not look so bad. We must find better solutions against their defence, we made too many mistakes, but overall this looks like a pretty good performance from us.