POST MATCH BLOG: Every cloud has a silver lining
On Friday I watched an Ireland football team beaten 6:1 at home by Germany. On Sunday I witnessed Montpellier lose at home to Hamburg in the VELUX EHF Champions League. The difference was that Montpellier showed heart, passion, fight and pride.
The “Young Guns” of Montpellier certainly went down in a blaze of glory. They were fantastic. They were resilient. It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and in a time of difficulty for the club, they showed unity and, perhaps, a bright future.
It was a game where every sporting cliché could be used. Youth vs experience! This was it. Men against boys! This was just not figuratively speaking but literally also. At one stage Desbonnet, Arvin Berod, Grébille, Bonnefond, Accambray and Gutfreund played on court and only the “ancient” Mamelund at 28 years old, brought the average age to just under 22. Grébille with 11 goals was outstanding and is a future star.
Watching the two coaches was also interesting. Canayer had no pressure and looked calm and assured throughout the game as he made changes in personnel and tried different defence strategies. On the other hand, Schwalb was kicking water bottles, shouting and realising that a win was a “must” against the “Boys in Blue”.
It was also a game of goalkeepers. Beutler was in a different stratosphere to either Robin or Desbonnet, although both did reasonably well. In my opinion the save of the week will be Beutler and the goal of the week will go to another goalkeeper.
They are a crazy bunch at the best of times, but when Desbonnet joined the attack, tried an underarm shot and found himself, after the rebound, with just Beutler to beat, he lobbed him to send the “Blue Foxes” into rhapsody. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Later in the game, Dan walked into the rear stanchion of the goal, probably to clear his head after a goal like that.
It would be wrong to think this game was all about Montpellier, but it could have been carnage had they not put up so brave a fight. Lindberg with 10 goals was brilliant as was Duvnjak, albeit playing out of position on right back. But this team’s game is like a roller-coaster, up and down every two minutes. They have the players to do well and never truly looked in trouble during this game, but they need to focus more for the bigger challenges ahead.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the referees, Krstić and Ljubič for the little memento they gave me. I have a godson, not even 1 year old, in Germany, whose father was formerly a Bundesliga player. Each week I try to send him something from MOTW to remind him in years to come about what was happening in handball. He is the future generation of handball player just like the “boys in blue” from Montpellier.
TEXT: Tom Ó Brannagáin, ehfTV commentator