In dire need of offensive efficiency, the French field hockey team started the Nation Cup on Monday with a 2-1 defeat against Ireland in Potchefstroom. Next meeting against South Africa this Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Organized in Potchefstroom in South Africa, from November 28 to December 4, the first edition of the Nation Cup brings together the 8 best field hockey nations in the world, not qualified for the Pro League. The Pro League is this long-term international competition in which the French team was able to participate in 2021-2022 by invitation, following Canada’s withdrawal due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The winning country of this Nation Cup, and it alone, will qualify for the 2023 edition of this crucial meeting for France, which must continue its apprenticeship at the very high level during multiple international meetings against the best teams in the world. With the 2023 World Cup in India (January 13-29) in sight, and of course the Paris Games for which the National Sports Agency has designated Frédéric’s men Be among the medal winners.
read also: Field hockey news
In their opening match against Ireland on Monday morning, France was sorely unrealistic, losing 2-1 despite 7 small corners (only 1 converted by Victor Charlet) against only 2 to their opponent but who leaves of the meeting with 50% success in this exercise.
After a very closed first quarter, where the two teams gauged each other in midfield, it was Ireland who opened the scoring a little against the run of play in the 21st minute. Following an interception in midfield, the green counter-attack with two touches of the ball put Jeremy Duncan in the ideal position to deceive Arthur Thieffry. Four minutes later, Charlet replied on pc, before the tricolor goalkeeper released a stroke just before half-time, with a superb relaxation for a full gaiter save.
Before the resumption, Frédéric Be, the coach of the France team, underlined the lack of offensive momentum of his players « who had to find more connections between them » in the second period. It will not have been heard, the Blues, who played in red for the occasion, multiplying the approximate controls and the clumsiness as they approach the opposing circle.
Thus, during a more open second half, with a lot of space between the lines due to less dense pressing, Timothée Clément, recently named world’s best hope, missed the target on a new combination from a small corner. At the end of the 3rd QT, the temporary exclusion of John McKee (5 minutes) for a nasty foul on Gaspard Xavier should logically have benefited the French but it was on the contrary on the action that followed that Ireland resumed the advantage by Shane O’Donoghue on pc.
read also: Clement, lacrosse dream
Again ineffective in this phase of the game, Charlet missed the equalizer with a push above the frame (48th). Despite the last three minutes without a goalkeeper, the red offensives remained in vain. “We are disappointed with the result as much as with the wayregretted Be. We knew it would be tough and it was. We have to be more efficient, there were too many mistakes in attack, we didn’t follow the instructions. But the tournament continues and we will have to do better in the next match. »
While France, 11th nation in the world, had dominated Ireland (13th) last August (4-1) in Calais, during the qualifying tournament for the European Cup A, this defeat does not leave much room for improvement. mistake for the Blues who will face South Africa, the host country, on Tuesday (2 p.m.) then Pakistan on Thursday (10 a.m.), two lower ranked nations (16th and 17th respectively) and clearly within their reach.