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22.04.2015, 16:14
France with a ticket to Poland in mind
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PREVIEW: Claude Onesta’s squad want to waste no time in securing their final tournament berth with two victories against FYR Macedonia
 

France with ticket to Poland in mind

Facing FYR Macedonia twice in a week is never an easy task, especially at this time of the season. Everyone is getting a little worn out, but the players will be even more so in June when the final rounds EHF EURO 2016 Qualification matches come around.

With this in mind, France coach Claude Onesta has chosen almost the exact same squad that won the recent World Championship to face Kiril Lazarov and his teammates on 29 April and 3 May.

“I know how the guys feel right now, that they would surely love a break. But I told them that they might secure their EURO ticket if they win both games and therefore may be able to miss the games in June,” explains Onesta, who will try to qualify for his eight consecutive EHF EURO.

“Moreover, I don't think that playing in Skopje is the best way for a newcomer to gain confidence, since it's very hard to play there.”

Debut for Claire

Onesta has, however, chosen one newcomer in the squad. Nicolas Claire, the centre back of HBC Nantes will wear the national team jersey for the first time in his career on Wednesday.

“I joined Nantes last season with the national team in mind,” says the 27-year-old, who previously played for Paris Saint-Germain. "I wanted to play regularly, in international competition as well and to be drafted among all these extraordinary players already feels like an achievement to me.”

Claire benefits from the absence of Jérome Fernandez, whose season has come to an early end with a knee injury. Left-hander Kevynn Nyokas will also miss the double-header against Macedonia. The Frisch Auf! Göppingen right back suffers from an injury to his right knee and is unavailable.

These two games will be even harder since the Macedonians lost a point in Czech Republic and will want to make up for it.

“If they want to make it to the EURO they may have plans of taking points against us," says Onesta bearing in mind that France won 30:20 in a friendly game back in January.

“This time, the game will be anything but friendly. Dejan Manaskov, Kiril Lazarov, Borko Ristovski, these are boys that are world-class players and that can cause us some trouble if we're not focused and fully prepared.”

France squad to face FYR Macedonia in EHF EURO 2016 Qualification:

Goalkeeper: Thierry Omeyer (Paris Saint-Germain Handball), Cyril Dumoulin (FENIX Toulouse), Wesley Pardin (FENIX Toulouse), Vincent Gérard (US Dunkerque)

Wing players: Luc Abalo (Paris Saint-Germain Handball), Guillaume Joli (HSG Wetzlar), Michaël Guigou (Montpellier AHB), Kentin Mahé (HSV Hamburg), Samuel Honrubia (Paris Saint-Germain Handball)

Backcourt players: William Accambray (Paris Saint-Germain Handball), Xavier Barachet (Paris Saint-Germain Handball), Nicolas Claire (HBC Nantes), Nikola Karabatic (FC Barcelona), Daniel Narcisse (Paris Saint-Germain Handball), Timothey N'Guessan (Chambéry SH), Valentin Porte (FENIX Toulouse)

Line players: Benjamin Afgour (US Dunkerque), Igor Anic (HBC Nantes), Luka Karabatic (Pays d'Aix), Cédric Sorhaindo (FC Barcelona)


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
 
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