The French are making indoor team sport history in Tokyo with both the men’s basketball and handball teams in the semi-finals!
The team coached by Vincent Collet will be facing Slovenia after its victory against Italy.
Of course it was difficult! What do you expect? These are the Olympic Games, after all… The French team had to contend with stiff Italian resistance but through sheer grit and talent the French basketball team finally overcame them, 84-75. You have to go back as far as the Sydney Olympics in 2000 to find the French men’s team at this level of the competition… when they played against the United States in the final. This is only the 4th time in its history that the French men's basketball team has reached the semi-finals. It will meet Slovenia on Thursday, which will be far from a simple matter considering the outstanding players in their adversaries’ team. But Vincent Collet is sufficiently well-versed in basketball lore to find solutions to this problem: notably, by putting up a solid defense, the French team’s strong point.
The Egyptian handball surprise
The French handball team, well acquainted with these major events, came up against Bahrain in the quarterfinals, a team of novices at this level of the competition. As expected, they were unable to withstand one of the strongest teams in this discipline over the past thirty years… and without question the greatest collective sports team in the sporting pantheon of France! The French overcame Bahrain by a wide margin (42-28) thanks, in particular, to a strong second half and eight goals scored by Quentin Mahé. The French team’s serial scorer is none other than the son of Pascal Mahé, a member of the celebrated Barjots, the name given to the men’s handball team between 1993 and 1996. In the semi-finals, the French will come up against the amazing Egyptian team that vanquished Germany in the quarterfinals 31-26. This was an historic success for the Egyptians who, thanks to their extremely athletic players, have been creating problems for the greatest handball nations for many years. It will be a difficult match that could turn into a trap, although the French team did win a narrow victory against them in the preparatory phase. Guillaume Gille, the coach of the national team, knows this better than anyone. On Thursday the French handball players will face the first African team to compete in the semi-finals of this major event and, consequently, be justified in entertaining the dream of winning their first ever medal. The French team, for their part, will be preparing for the match with the hope of perpetuating, and contributing to, the legend of French handball!
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Photo copyright: KMSP