“France has a very successful mix of experience and youth”

The first part of our FIFA World Cup interview with Grégoire Margotton can be found here.

After football, you go to the Handball World Cup (January 11-29), is it difficult to get back into it with less than a month of preparation?

“No, it happens more at the last minute, but I like it! I’m on my hand cards, I’ve been eating hands for 4-5 days, but it’s good! I am watching the last two matches of the French team in particular, I am working on Poland, who will be the first opponent of the blues. But I have a bit more time to get my hands on the competition because we have played two or three games since Paris and if there is a semi-final I will be there and I think it will be a semi-final. final (he smiles). It allows me to see all of France’s matches without necessarily commentating, so it’s not quite the same thing. The FIFA World Cup was one match a day from the beginning, then I will have time to quietly return to the competition. But it feels good to change and then switch to another sport. I used to do it in the past when I was doing athletics, for example on the Channel, and I loved it. It’s good to start 2023 with a hand, then with a team that has injuries, questions, but has a foundation that allows him to go, make the final four again. Even if there is a little less success than four or five years ago, apart from the Olympics, it is a quality team. »

Before the France-Argentina final, you shared your large files on social networks, but it’s hard to find information?

“By the way, they hadn’t finished yet, because the final was just around the corner (smile). It’s not complicated, but I work in a more academic way. Apart from a few Champions League matches, I don’t see players playing in Barça, Kielce (Poland)… So I have to go and look for two or three websites and a newspaper that talks about the arm and leg. their news, performances since the beginning of the season. I have some experience with the French national team, because since 2017 I have systematically participated in men’s and women’s, Euro and World Cups. So I’m starting to have reflexes in this generation. And there are not fifty new ones every time. In the French group, there are one or two newcomers from one year to another. So it’s not that complicated. The first thing I do is hold my hand, watch the matches and review the rhythm, because it is not the same commentary rhythm as football. It takes a few minutes or even a few matches to snap back into place (smile). »

It was said that the golden generation ended with the failure of Euro-2020, but in the end the results are still there… Is this a remnant of the spirit of the “Experts” (Karabatic, Gille…)?

“I think there’s a vital minimum that’s incredible when you think about it, which is the last four. They failed to rally again in the last weekend to finish on the podium in the last race (Euro 2022), but yes, there is always the last four! We can manage the absence of four, five important players in France and still challenge for the championship. Then there are the Olympics in Paris, a common goal on everyone’s mind. Before the Olympics, how will this world and the next European Championship (2024) to be held in Germany be approached? We’re in training and if we don’t win, isn’t it the end of the world? We are not playing for our place in the Olympic Games because we have already qualified as the host nation. There will not be exactly the same spiritual resources for this group. But it’s a very successful mix of experience and youth, maybe a little less big than six or seven years ago, but still a great team!

What course can the Blues hope for?

“We are entering a period where some are progressing, we have seen Sweden… Some will perhaps strive for a third World Cup in a row, Denmark… There are big countries, we saw it in the last warm-up game against Egypt. But here we are, taking it easy, hoping for no Covid cases or injuries, advancing through the preliminary round, because given what we’ve been offered, it’s unthinkable to get past this round, then we’re on to the main round… A priori, the race as usual is in the quarterfinals will begin. Therefore, I am very optimistic to find our handball players in the last four in TF1. I’m hoping to go to Stockholm and I have a good feeling that I’m going there (smile). »

Poland, at home, is it good to immediately interfere in everything, or does this disrupt the rhythm of the usual rise to power?

“No, it’s perfect! Because even if you are beaten, which I don’t think you will be, it will pass without any humiliation towards the Poles. A good one is to start in “Welcome to the World Championships” mode in a very noisy, hostile room. Guillaume Gille’s men need it to get down to business. After that, Poland also has graduates. But he will want to get off to a good start, and he must get through the preliminary round, as the top three (from a group of four with Slovenia and Saudi Arabia) qualify. I think it’s great to start with a real match rather than an impossible poster. This is the World Cup and it’s good to say that from the first game. »

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