The first match is scheduled to sell out at the Ghani-Yalouz Sports Palace (around 3,000 seats in handball configuration), the home of the Bisontines who play in the first division. Something to rejoice captain and left winger Coralie Lassource after the Tokyo Games played behind closed doors. “Having a room full to bursting, it allows to give even more on the ground and that will give an incredible enthusiasm to the match”, explains the Martiniquaise to AFP.

The 29-year-old Brest, promoted captain after Siraba Dembélé’s withdrawal for the Olympics, is one of the most experienced players in a rejuvenated team with novices. In the group of 20 players selected, ten do not have any selection. Only six Olympic champions are present: Coralie Lassource therefore, as well as left winger Chloé Valentini, left-back Kalidiatou Niakaté, Guadeloupe center-half Méline Nocandy, pivot Pauletta Foppa and right-back Océane Sercien-Ugolin.

“The idea was to summon the best possible team, taking into account the demand of some players to be spared. But we have a core which ‘performed’ at the Olympic Games,” said the coach. Olivier Krumbholz. “Our job is to personalize the courses as much as possible, which is what we are doing this week. I remind you that two of the best Russian players, (Daria) Dmitrieva and (Anna) Vyakhireva, have stopped their activity temporarily or permanently. burn-out for a while … There are strong indicators that prove that we must take care of our players and not systematically focus on the immediate result “, continues the boss of the Blue, forced to compose without his guards Cléopatre Darleux and Amandine Leynaud. The first is left to stand. The second ended his international career after winning over Russia (30-25) in the final in Tokyo.

But the cage remains well guarded, with in particular Laura Glauser, European champion in 2018 and Olympic vice-champion in 2016. The ex-Messina, 28, must nevertheless regain confidence, because she plays little in the club with Györ (Hungary ), where her competitors are the Norwegian Silje Solberg and … Leynaud. “The first idea is to relaunch Laura Glauser. My personal goal is for her to be a very great goalkeeper, N.1 or N.2, at the 2024 Olympics,” explains Krumbholz. These matches are also an opportunity to identify other contenders for the Olympic event in Paris in less than three years, or even for the World Cup in December. “We will only have had two or three days to prepare them but we make a point of presenting a somewhat commando team. It’s a challenge this week, but we intend to take it up,” added the coach.

A double challenge largely within the reach of the Blue, even reworked, on paper. The Czechs are certainly coached by Jan Basny, who has coached several French clubs (Nantes, Besançon …), but they were eliminated from the group stage of Euro-2020 with zero points on the clock. The Ukrainians, whom the French will face in Soumy (northeast), have not qualified for a major tournament since Euro-2014 (last place). This remains “two trap matches” for Lassource. “But with a rejuvenated team, we can no longer create an effect of surprise”, concludes the captain.

Handball: Czech Republic then Ukraine, “two trap matches” for Martiniquan Coralie Lassource, captain of the Bleues