3 takes after France–North Macedonia: “Lazarov, goalkeepers and the stars”

As expected, France defeated North Macedonia with 39–29 in the premiere of EHF Euro 2024 – here are Jacob Nalerius’ three takes after the game.

Lazarov did what he could

One of the world’s greatest right-backs (if not THE greatest) of all time has ended his playing career and can now be found as North Macedonia’s coach. Kiril Lazarov is still relatively unproven as a coach, but showed that he has quite a few aces up his sleeve. The young North Macedonian team slowed down the pace, tried seven against six and caused some problems for the, on paper, superior France. North Macedonia, and above all Kiril Lazarov, will be exciting to follow in the long run.

The goalkeeper question

Thierry Omeyer is long gone and Vincent Gérard was forced to throw in the towel due to an injury. Then it was Montpellier’s Remi Desbonnet who was trusted from the start. The explosive 31-year-old, like the whole team, got off to a slow start – but then grew into the match and accounted for an impressive effort on the whole. In the second half, club colleague Charles Bolzinger then got the chance and he too responded with a strong effort between the sticks. The goalkeeping position is extremely important if a team wants to fight for medals and a premiere against North Macedonia doesn’t tell the whole truth, but the goalkeeping efforts were clearly welcome news for Guillaume Gille,

The stars showed up

The January darkness is here and the Euros is exactly the energy injection that is required. Even better is seeing players like Dika Mem, Ludovic Fabregas and not least Hugo Descat play at the highest level. The latter really suited the brook and was completely ruthless in an otherwise rather sleepy France. In the end, six goals in as many finishes for the left winger six in the first half (and a penalty in the second half) and everything indicates that Descat can get a key role from the wing, and as the penalty taker.