France at the rendezvous of the semi-finals of the Euro. The Blues will not need to wait until Wednesday to validate their ticket for the last four of the competition. From this Monday, in pain against the Austrians (33-28) of magnificent courage but a little too short at the end of the match, the reigning Olympic champions won a third success in three matches during the main round, this which ensures them one of the first two places in their group. Beautiful work.
In any case, if confirmation of Austria's status as a surprise team in the competition was needed, the first half was the best proof. At the start of the match, first of all, where the Austrians had fun with the French defense during the first five minutes, like a very effective Janko Bozovic (3-5). And at the end of the first act, when Ales Pajovic's men inflicted a 4-0 on the Blues inside to reach the locker room with a small lead (15-16). Which therefore meant, all the same, that between the two, France had been able to react and do better to the Austrian defense. Between a sublime kung-fu between Nedim Remili and Dika Mem, the efficiency of Ludovic Fabregas in pivot or that of Hugo Descat on fast play, Guillaume Gille's men had managed to gain a three-point lead (15 -12, 26th), before seeing it fly away in three minutes flat.
As soon as the restart, the scenario repeated itself, again and again. The Blues scored a 4-0 (21-18, 37th) and we thought we would see them continue until the end. But no, Lukas Hutecek suddenly caught fire to score three consecutive goals and Austria returned to the game, as if it were unsinkable (22-22, 43rd). Except that the Austrian coach does not have the same bench depth as Guillaume Gille. And when Dylan Nahi, Kentin Mahé or even Nicolas Tournat came off the bench to score, Austria ended up picking physically, looking in vain for a hero (26-23, 49th). And this time, hallelujah, the Blues no longer let go of their advantage, Samir Bellahcene making many great saves to extinguish the last Austrian hopes, finally beaten, severely, by five goals (33-28). The biggest gap in a match much closer than this score might suggest. Except that close or not, in the end, it is France who wins.