“It’s a new impetus, a new adventure that we will write together,” said Benjamin Toniutti, captain of the French men’s volleyball team, Olympic champion a month ago in Tokyo and who is starting the tournament. Euro 2021 this Friday against Slovakia in Tallinn (Estonia).
Is it complicated to come down from the cloud on which you are after the Olympic title and switch again to competition mode for this Euro?
“We know that what we have done is exceptional. But we had time to celebrate and celebrate this victory a little bit with our families and friends. We had two weeks, that’s what it took to celebrate and to prepare for the Euro a bit, because we can’t arrive without preparation. It will be short with ten days. We have to get back into it physically, because we haven’t touched the ball and we will try to be as ready as possible for the Euro. And then there we have a new objective. “
What is the state of mind of the team when it comes to this Euro?
“There’s bound to be a bit of mental fatigue, because it’s been eleven weeks since the start of the summer that we’ve been in a health bubble. It’s tough mentally, but there is a new staff, it gives a lot of desire, to come, to get to know each other, to work and to see other things. This is a new impetus, a new adventure that we are going to write together. It will be done little by little. We’re not going to revolutionize everything in two weeks, because we don’t have time. We are going to rely on the basics of the team, on what we have known how to do for years, and little by little, we will get to know the staff and polish some details, but it will not be done overnight. This Euro is a first step even if clearly it does not come at the right time, but it is like that. Now we are there, we are in it and we will do the best we can to achieve the best result. “
You will discover a new coach. What can you tell us about him?
“What strikes me is that during practice he is animated the same way he is in a game. He puts on the same intensity, it pushes to give everything, to do the best possible. Afterwards, he has a staff around him with Rubinho with whom he worked in the Brazilian selection, Mauricio Paes who is Franco-Brazilian and who knows French volleyball perfectly. When he’s having trouble making himself understood, Mauricio helps him. We will see as we evolve. “
FRANCE – SLOVAKIA, tonight (7 p.m.), to follow live on La Chaine L’Équipe