Their first group place assured, the French ended yesterday in Tokyo the first round of the Olympic tournament with an inconsequential defeat against Norway (29-32) but with potential injuries. Nikola Karabatic’s teammates had their sights set on tomorrow’s unprecedented quarter-final against Bahrain, fourth in the other pool. With a view to the final table, the French thus worked against the Norwegians on the seven-a-side game without a goalkeeper in the offensive phase, their automatisms, and integrated the usual substitutes …

“The loss did not compromise the group’s first place, so it’s anecdotal,” said Luka Karabatic.

Less incidental, the outings on injuries of two players tarnished this hitherto ideal first round. Full-back Timothey N’Guessan, who was hit hard at the start of the match, did not return to the pitch after having already experienced a season disrupted by physical problems. Like winger Hugo Descat, 100% on 7m throws in the first five games, who “felt something in the middle of the race,” according to coach Guillaume Gille.

“We are waiting for the next exams,” he says. These will be ultrasounds performed “in the next few hours,” according to a statement from the Federation. “We hope that the results will be reassuring but there is clearly a question mark for the rest of the competition”, book Guillaume Gille about N’Guessan, one of his base men, and Descat, his privileged replacement since the start of the tournament.

Pivotal Ludovic Fabregas also felt a little alert late in the game that did not arouse any fear in the management.