World Polo Championship - Play-off Zone C :
Première victoire pour la France !
Finally a first victory : France won against Germany in the 1st game of the 2nd day of the World’s Polo Championship play-offs after a tough encounter (7 to 5½) but in a very positive and friendly atmosphere where the french were cheered up by lots of school children, children that the players then went to greet.
The French had learnt their lesson following the game against Spain last Monday, especially by improving their strategy as Julien Reynes, former n°1 attacker and now defender explains : « Everything went smoothly today, we have changed our tactics : I switched positions with Alex (Sztarkman) who went up front. Therefore, we all felt that we had improved, we were much better organized. » A more efficient game, where Sztarkman was more at ease where he scored perhaps the most impressive goal for France with a neck shot. The french team seemed more at ease than they were on Monday : « We weren’t under as much pressure. When we played our first game, it had been a while since we had played in a competition and it was a little bit stressful for us to enter such a tournament without any preamble. Today, we are not afraid of loosing and feel more confident than on Monday. As a matter of fact, we were much more relaxed. »
The french team are now back on track and their qualification for the Sydney tournament is yet to come after a game against the English team ! Julien Reynes seems quite confident : « We can beat England even if I know it’s going to be tough. We are playing for the qualification for Australia and we will try our best. »
The english team has once again impressed.
Yes in fact, England has once again performed brilliantly today. Surely the most impressive game since the beginning of these play-offs where no loss than 17 goals were scored. But for a match to be this impressive, it needs a good opponent and Spain held this role beautifully : long balls, nice play, a lot of back moves reversing and boosting the game. The final result was still uncertain until the 3rd period (7-7) and Spain were even leading the game until the 2nd period (4-5). But in this game, the English team won. And in this victory, the veteran, Will Lucas, has once again played 1st role : fulfilling at its best his « role of back », playing long balls, he also scored quite a few times, especially the 10th and last goal of his team skilfully. The french-english encounter happening on Sunday afternoon will not be a peace of cake for the tricolors… but it might be thanks to their relaxed and de-contracted attitude that they shall impose themselves and win. For now, only Germany (with 2 defeats) have been eliminated, unless they beat Spain on Sunday.
While waiting for this verdict in the men's tournament, it is another France-England that we will have to focus on tomorrow: the one of the Ladies European Championship which can qualify the tricolors for the final of Sunday (11:30am). In case of defeat, nothing will be lost as the French will still be able to qualify via a penalty shootout. What the tricolor players do not want to hear! So the next rendezvous for all French fans will be tomorrow at 3:30pm in Apremont. Previously, Germany will give everything to beat Italy to get a penalty shootout for a place in the final. All the scenarios are still possible with three teams candidates in the final ... but the most pleasant would be a victory of Caroline Anier and her young teammates ... After, no matter the opponent in the final.