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Handball World Cup: flawless for the Bleues who have a glimpse of the quarter-finals

The French women's team defeated Slovenia on Monday evening in Stavanger (Norway) (31-27).

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Handball World Cup: flawless for the Bleues who have a glimpse of the quarter-finals

The French women's team defeated Slovenia on Monday evening in Stavanger (Norway) (31-27). A success which opens the door to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Les Bleues, reigning Olympic champions, enter the main round with the maximum number of points (4), where they will face Norway (also 4 pts), Austria (2) and South Korea (0). . The first two in this group, which also includes Slovenia (2 pts) and Angola (0), will qualify for the quarter-finals.

The French will start against the Austrians on Wednesday in Trondheim (6:00 p.m.) to open the door wide to the quarters, or even already pocket their ticket.

As against Iceland on Saturday (31-22), they were very hot and (slightly) cold on Monday evening against the teammates of Ana Gros, former Slovenian player from Metz and Brest.

On the tail side, this fast and counter-attacking game - their trademark -, based on a solid defense, with Pauletta Foppa and Tamara Horacek at the head of the bridge, which allowed them to widen a small gap from the 11th minute (9 -6, Grandveau in the empty goal in numerical superiority) and to keep it until the end.

“We knew that they (the Slovenians) were not particularly fast so we tried to push all the balls. We may have lost a few but that’s the price to pay,” said coach Olivier Krumbholz.

Among the positive points, also the performance of Hatadaou Sako (9 saves on 22 shots), who entered the goal in place of Laura Glauser in the middle of the first period and whose sparkling start to the second half (three saves on the first four shots ) gave an even more comfortable mattress in advance (22-17).

“We managed to build the match. I was keen to be able to boost the team, to give energy because we were in a 'down',” said Sako, who started with the French team in March after wearing the Senegal jersey.

The young Léna Grandveau, lined up from the start at the age of 20 at right-back (even though she is right-handed) due to Laura Flippes' injury, also shone.

La Nantes (6 goals from 7 attempts) confirmed her excellent start to the World Cup. It was she, with a powerful supporting shot that hit the mark, who put the Blues back in the right direction on an action that seemed blocked and while they were struggling (16-13, 26th).

On the front side, again a few failed duels against the goalkeeper, like this penalty from Alicia Toublanc just before half-time (17-15), and a bit of haste on certain actions.

Consequence: France only waited until the last five minutes to take cover even though it had several opportunities to take a six-goal lead.

“The main thing is done, we won by four goals, which is completely correct in a tense match, but we did not find a way to move away from them a little more. We played a very serious, consistent match with individual performances that stepped up,” underlined Krumbholz, also thinking of Méline Nocandy (2/4), convincing in the second half.

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