The main round, which is to qualify the qualifiers for the semifinals, begins Saturday. The Blues begin with a meeting of size against Spanish champions of Europe.
The world handball enters its decisive phase. That of the "main round", which should lead to designate the teams that will reach the semi-finals. In the group where it is listed, the France team will face successively Spain, Iceland and Croatia.
The first match for the Blues will take place Saturday, January 19 in Cologne, against the Spanish. This is an important meeting, since they are the champions of Europe in title. And that they beat the French in the semi-finals of this competition a year ago (23-27).
A short review of the forces involved through some statistics of this beginning of competition. However, they are only worth what they are: indicators, not forecasting tools.
Course in preliminary phase: advantage to points to the French
The French finished first in their group with 4 wins and a draw against Germany. Defeated by the Croatians in the last group match on Thursday night, the Spaniards finished second in their group (4 wins, one loss).
The matches of this preliminary phase were a little more hooked for the French (victories 24-22 against Brazil and 23-22 against Russia) than for the Spaniards, who largely dominated, for example, Iceland (32- 25), Macedonia (32-21) or Bahrain (33-23).
In this main round, France starts with 3 points, Spain with 2 points.
France more effective in attack
The Spaniards scored a few more goals than the French. But they are a little less effective. On 240 shots attempted, the Spaniards scored 142 times. That is a success rate of 59%. The success rate for the French is 65%, with 138 shots scored out of 211 attempts.
The Spaniards have in their ranks a fairly formidable shooter: Ferran Sole Sala, ranked 10th top scorer, with 26 goals scored in 32 shots. Paul Entrerrios Rodriguez comes further (34th) with 19 goals scored in 30 attempts. In the Blues, Quentin Mahé is 25th (22 goals in 31 shots) and Nedim Remili 30th (20 goals in 32 shots).
The same "waterproofness" in defense
Both teams are among the best defenses of the tournament at this stage. The Blues conceded 113 goals, the Spaniards 114.
Only Denmark (103 goals), Germany (110 goals) and Sweden (111) were a bit more "impervious".
The Spanish defenders have also "stole" a little more balls to attacking opponents: 20, against 17 for French defenders.
"In defense it's very tough and disturbing for the opponents, with two top-level goalkeepers", said to The Team Christian Gaudin, former goalkeeper of the Blues and current coach of Cesson-Rennes.
Goalkeepers also dissuasive
The Spanish and French goalkeepers show the same percentage of stops: the first stopped 60 shots out of 174 (34%), the second shots out of 175 (35%).
Only Danish goalkeepers (41% of shots stopped), Norwegian (40%), Swedish (40%) and Croatian (38%) do better.
The French Vincent Gérard, who has played five games, is ranked at this stage 5th best goalkeeper: 39% of shots stopped. He is also ranked 5th among the best goalkeepers for the arrested Penaltys: 38% of the jets at 7 meters diverted.
Spanish side, Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, usual goalkeeper Barça club and very explosive, also knows how to be dissuasive: he is ranked 8th among the best goalkeepers, with 37% of shots stopped in five games. It does not appear on the other hand in the top 20 for the diverted penaltys.