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Handball: Now waiting for Austria “All-Star Team” France

Handball: Now waiting for Austria “All-Star Team” France
Austria’s handball players are flying high
Image: APA/Eva Manhart

With France, however, the ultimate tough test awaits the ÖHB seven on Monday (6 p.m./live ORF 1) in the sixth game of the final round. Ales Pajovic and his troops are up against an “all-star team,” as Austria’s team boss said. Even in the event of a defeat, the semi-final chance would still be alive before the final Iceland game.

In main round group 1, France currently has 6 points. Behind them are Hungary and Austria with 4 each, Germany lurking just behind (3). In the event of a first defeat in this tournament, a lot could depend on the duel with the Icelanders who already have no chance and no points on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.). “This is already the seventh game. But maybe the Icelanders are a bit tired by then,” said Pajovic. The variant of a red-white-red semi-final appearance, which was unimaginable a month ago, no longer seems entirely unrealistic to him. “Everything is possible.”

  • Also read: 22:22 – Austria’s handball heroes make Germany tremble

“It will be brutally difficult”

Before that, France is building up to the Austrians, who are riding a wave of euphoria. “France will be much, much tougher, they will come with a lot of self-confidence, a lot of world-class players and a completely different sovereignty,” predicted director Lukas Hutecek after Saturday’s draw against the Germans (22:22). “Les Bleus” have only made a mistake in the 26:26 draw against Switzerland; North Macedonia, Germany, Croatia and Iceland were defeated in the other European Championship games.

“They have double positions in every position, they are also athletic and physical machines. It will be brutally difficult,” said Pajovic about the six-time world and three-time European champion, who, however, has not won the continental title for ten years. In addition to the 39-year-old old master Nikola Karabatic, who is completing his last European Championship, eyes are on pivot Ludovic Fabregas, playmaker Nedim Remili and the two right-wing development players Dika Mem and Melvyn Richardson. The fact that the latter are both left-handed is rare and a clear advantage for the French.

Once again, Red-White-Red will need goalkeeper Constantin Möstl in top form. After his recent brilliant exploits against Germany, the 23-year-old seems ready to do so. “The French don’t have many weaknesses,” joked the Viennese, who is currently in a state of intoxication. “It was cool, huge, you’re not used to that. I haven’t fully realized it yet,” said Möstl. Against Germany he hit the goal post during a rescue operation, but the pain was no obstacle. “I also play with a broken arm,” promised the hard goalie with a wink.

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