🏆 FIH World Cup Qualifiers : France men's team outbid Austria to reserve their World Cup slot
Photo Credit : Irfon Bennett/ France Hockey

The date was circled in red marker. The Blues were to go to the semi-finals this Saturday, October 23 and win their match, regardless of the opponent. The France team has achieved its goal, it won 4-1 against Austria and is now reserving its ticket for the 2023 World Cup in India!

After a 5-0 win without trembling against Poland, the players of Fred Be had to get back in the bath with a semi-final again essential. Essential? That’s the word. Indeed, the Blues had to win this match to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in India! 

The roadmap was clear for the players of Fred Be. The Blues knew they were expected and completely dominated the first period. “ This first period was one-sided. Austria got only one meager entry into the opposing circle and a small shot. We got a few chances without finding the loophole. We had a serious first half but with a lack of offensive success. We were expected low by Austria. We knew it was going to turn out like this . “ Evokes Fred Be, coach of the Blues .

After a well-tried Small Corner, the Blues get Penalty Stroke . Victor Charlet, master in the exercise, does not miss his chance. The Blues take the advantage in the 19th minute of the match (1-0).

The Blues end this first period strong with two clear chances on an attempt by Timothée Clément, author of a very good tournament (28 ‘). At the very end of the period, it was Pieter Van Straaten who did not go far from scoring following a good entry into the circle of François Goyet, once again, then a discount from Blaise Rogeau (29 ‘).

The resumption of half-time allows the Austrians to re-organize. However, it is the Blues who are the most dangerous with an attempt by Blaise Rogeau (33 ‘). The Austrians responded with a first chance in the 34th minute before making the difference. Indeed, with a long shot, the Austrians manage to create danger and a deflection in front of Fabian UNTERKIRCHER’s goal allows Austria to return to 1-1 and believe in it (39 ‘).

The 3rd quarter ends with a parity score. The tension mounts, the stress is at its height. The Blues have no room for error and must ensure their participation in the 2023 World Cup. And the Blues have understood it. On resumption, François Goyet deflects the push from Victor Charlet on Petit Corner! The French striker hits the mark and France takes the lead (48 ‘) .

Sometimes defensive actions are worth as much as a goal. And Charles Masson can prove it to you. On Austrian PC, the French number 11 quite simply saves the match. Full of rage, the French midfielder shows the way for Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. Sure of themselves, the Blues will push to take cover. After several occasions, it was Etienne Tynevez who settled the situation. In the circle, the French number 21 found the flaw following a confusion in front of the goal. 3-1 (55 ‘) .

Finally, in the very last seconds Max Branicki adds a second goal to his counter in the tournament and allows the Blues to win this match 4 goals to 1 .

The victory is French, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup too. Fred Be evokes this meeting and the importance of it : “ We kept our structure and we were patient. It is encouraging and above all positive since we have not fallen into our faults. We kept playing and we did what we had to do in this game: win. Whatever the form, you had to win. However, you had to have a good game to win. But the victory was essential and this is especially what we remember. In this match, you had to be patient and that’s what happened. We have regained our confidence on PC with at least one goal in the last 7 games (since the arrival of Fred Be). It’s not perfect, but confidence is returning. Even though the opponent was not a top 10, I am happy with the performance. First objective achieved in our trajectory until Paris 2024 ”.

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