How Pauletta Foppa revolutionized the pivot position at the Bleues

The next time your progeny says he’s not really into the sport you signed him up for, whether it’s soccer, tennis or tumbling, tell him to follow Pauletta Foppa’s example. At the age of 12, the kid was clearly not excited about handball and almost a decade later, the current pivot of the France team that will face Germany in the Euros this Tuesday (8.30pm) is the Olympic champion, the winner of Euro 2018. Worlds (2021) and Euro 2020 finalist. Therefore, on the 21st.

The click happened at the end of the second, when she entered the Pôle espoirs d’Orléans: “Until then, she had difficulty making this level of demands, we had to fight to make her understand,” head of the Center-Val-de-Loire women’s hope center The best pivots in the world, says Jonathan Mouton. And then a few setbacks made him question himself. He realized he was a good player and told himself he had to put in the ingredients to get there. »

“He splits the defense in two”

Until he became one of the best players in the world today. “In any case, it’s the best pivot in the world,” Manon Houette, a Chambray player and consultant for BeIN Sports, which broadcasts the race, is convinced. It brings together all the qualities you could hope for in a pivot. Even revolutionize the position of women? Almost according to former pivot Sladjana Pop-Lazic, who played four years with Foppa in Brest.

In the collective imagination, the turning position is a fight, a blow… He manages to change that with his technical wealth. Also with his head, because he is able to analyze defenders’ game well. But hey, unfortunately there are still a lot of fights (laughs), especially for him who finds himself facing two or three defenders. »

But put two or three girls in contact with the Avengers or Sauron’s army, and she’ll always come out with her hands in the air. The advantage of benefiting from the special training that allows you to have a unique roster: “Pauletta is a pivot who takes position and splits the defense in two, the coach explains. We bet learning to win a position is more complicated than learning to slip that comes with time and experience. Among the girls, there are not many pivot players who can take this advantage into position and duel with their backs. »

Pauletta Foppa, two in one

A little technical explanation with Jonathan Mouton for the handball players following us:

  • “The slide is about having a gap behind the defense and rushing into it to offer your partners a passing solution. »
  • “Winning a position means making room for him and his partners. When he’s around, he gets in front of defenders, takes up space in front of him, which gives space to the attack and is in an over-manpower situation. »

Where clubs and selections need two players in a position with different qualities, the French team has an example of both sides in Pauletta Foppa. “You rarely see girls like that,” continues Sladjana Pop-Lazic. For example, you have to feel to slide, know how the backs work, communicate with the players. It is not easy and comes with practice. And at the age of 21, he has already achieved all this. »

The problem with Pauletta for defenders is that she can do anything, concludes Manon Huette. You can’t block blocks or he’ll slide and vice versa, on the counter attack he knows how to defend in the 3 position, you can make him play almost sixty minutes. t run out… Anything very new in hand. »

Pictured during the match against Montenegro (27-19), where the Blues roamed on Sunday. Very present in attack (with a very good 6/7), with good counter-attacks, Pauletta Foppa also silenced her main rival threat, Jovanka Radičević. Thanks to a technique, she is also one of the only ones to master there: “She is the only female defender who can technically hold her opposite arm in contact, Jonathan Mouton develops. The opponent will come forward with her left shoulder, and Pauletta will return it by holding her right shoulder. »

And this is just the beginning

Even if it is not very patriotic, some advice to the next opponents of Les Bleues to reduce the effectiveness of Pauletta Foppa to a drop: “When he is in defense, he can get frustrated because he still does not have the culture of the whole world. defensive players”, according to Mouton; ” You have to push him out of the zone and to 9 yards, because when he gets the ball back, we have a little more time to put a two-three on him and solve the problem,” d ‘then Houette.

According to the head of the Pole of Hope, the phenomenon of Foppa can also change the tricolor game as a whole, because it is really a story of telling: “It already celebrates a generation. Where it can take French handball forward is in the passing game [sur attaque placée, une faiblesse historique des Bleues malgré leurs nombreux titres, ndlr] For him to be able to express himself, he needs good players around him who can make the passes at the right time. “The title at the 2024 Olympics can be determined there.

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