Poland did no favors to France, as the Group C participants played a tight-contested match in Aarhus. The ‘White and Reds’ matched any effort made by the Olympic Champions from the very begging, leading on several occasions before ‘Les Experts’ turned the match to their favor. France saw two injuries to their players as Sorhaindo left the court with a swollen eye, followed by Karabatić suffering a dead leg. It was 27:28 tonight, in a match that could go either way.
A real pressure-cooker in Aarhus was on the card with the result tied at 7:7, mid-way through the first half. A proof that France took their A-game against Poland come from the fact that Karabatić(8 goals overall) opened the match with 6/6; Serbian-born back, was at that point shooting 100% at the Euro. It was Karabtić again, to turn the score in French favor with a brace, five minutes until the break for 11:12. France was leading by three, within two minutes as Guigou and Karabatić scored in quick succession for 11:14. Jurecki brought the difference back to one, but that was all he could do as the teams went to the break with 14:15.
The second half saw even more drama, as Lijewski brought his team the lead at 18:17, with 7 minutes in. It was Guigou who brought the lead back, for France only to loose a minute later due Szmal coming good when it counts for Poland. It was another goalkeeper, Dumoulin (17 saves overall) who took the center-stage with a series of great saves, thriving in absence of Omeyer. A three-goal individual series from Accambray made it 22:25, with still some time to go, 48 minutes into the game.Effort from Lucak and Chrapkowski to tie the game annulled, as two attacks for Poland duringpower-play, ended with possession given away. Accambray cannons the shot into the top-left, with 5 minutes to play at 25:27. The ever-dependable Lijewski put his shot wide, after a solo effort to beat the French defence.Persistence finally pays out for Poland, as Jurkiewicz sends the ‘Red and White’ fans into raptures; as he ties the score at 27:27 with a little over a minute left in the match.
France team appeared increasingly tired before time-out in the dying secondsas Karabatić hobbles off, due to an injury. It was Anić with his 4th goal that put Poland dismay, having less than 20 seconds to mount a comeback.Jurecki’s last-second shot saved by impressive Dumoulin with his 17th save of the game.
After this game, France will want relish a breather, in hope for injuries to Irrepressible Karabatić, and Sorhaindo before their match against Serba, who will be giving their utmost to get something from that encounter. Poland sit bottom of the group for now, hoping to repeat this stellar performance against Russia on Friday, to gain their first points in the Championship.
TEXT: NEMANJA SAVIC