If Nikola Karabatic wisely took his place in the stands to preserve himself physically for the semi-finals, Nedim Remili and Dika Mem kept their starting shirts on this Wednesday. A risky choice, but a profitable one from coach Guillaume Gille given their respective performances during the first period. Thus, the center half of Veszprem scored 6 goals and the Barcelona player 4, with a magnificent 100% shooting success. And even if the second half was less sparkling – which is logical given that their playing time was reduced, the fact remains that Remili finished the match at 7 out of 7 in shooting, and Mem at 6 in 8. Beautiful work.
Four victories in four matches in the main round, without forgetting the one, just before, against Germany in the 1st round: that draw against Switzerland in the second match now seems very far away. Even if it still has too many (very) weak moments during its matches, the French team is piling up the successes while leaving an impression of mastery, all the same. Above all, unlike Sweden which prepared for the semi-final by suffering a correction of ten goals against Slovenia, the Blues maintained their positive dynamic, while managing playing time intelligently (even if Dika Mem played more than we could have expected) and without the slightest physical glitch. All the lights are green, therefore.
If the French team had nothing more to fear or hope for from this match, this was not the case for the Hungarians, forced to win to still aspire to qualify for the semi-finals, even if this one no longer depended only on their performance but also on that of Germany in the evening. However, the Magyars hardly showed any rage to win, particularly on the defensive level during a first act where they left boulevards to the blue backs. Where they did not exhaust themselves in carrying out a withdrawal worthy of the name. Where they didn't put any harshness into the impacts. To the point of finishing the first act with the Blues at 80% shooting success, without the slightest penalty whistled against Hungary, and with only a suspension for two minutes. Quite a symbol of their almost total lack of commitment, and therefore of survival instinct in this competition.
Despite the victory, we can still regret, on the French side, the lack of relief in certain performances coming from the bench. If Nicolas Tournat once again demonstrated how valuable he could be in the pivot position (4 goals), Valentin Porte had a tricky shooting match (1 out of 4) while the back base trio made up of Elohim Prandi, of Melvyn Richardson and Timothey N'Guessan hardly sparked, with one goal each scored. The sign that, despite its attractive bench depth on paper, the French team still relies mainly on its major 7 to win. The ten minutes straddling the end of the first period and the start of the second are the most obvious symbol of this.