The French Men’s team just completed a heavy three week schedule with three games against Belgium and Ireland.
In a period of intense training for both the national team and their Clubs, the players had to work hard physically and mentally against quality opposition in the three matches.
On Wednesday of last week, the Blues met a new-look Belgian team, and were soundly defeated 1-4 after trailing 0-3 at half time. An improved second half from France saw the score finish at 1-4, with Yannick Schambert the solitary goalscorer for the match.
The team then travelled to Dublin for two matches against a fit and well-drilled Irish team. The first game on Tuesday night was a 2-8 loss to France. A steady first 25 minutes saw the Blues leading 2-1 with goals from Nicholas Monnier and Frédéric Soyez, before Ireland dominated the second half, scoring seven unanswered goals.
“The second half was a significant wake-up call for the group,” said France Head Coach Scott Goodheart. “Ireland were more desperate and made consistently better decisions than us, on and off the ball, and the scoreline suitably reflected this.”
The Blues rebounded decisively in the second Ireland match, winning the game 1-0 and significantly reversing the statistics from game one, doubling their game one penetrations into the attacking 23, and halving the Irish entries into their defensive circle. Matthieu Durchon scored the solitary goal for the match halfway through the second half.
“The team spent a significant amount of time in the 24 hours after the first game loss looking at the way we communicate within the group on and off the field, and also the structure and tactics of our defense. To rebound back after such a result is a great testament to the character of the team, the leadership group, and also to the general potential of the squad,” Goodheart said.
“The defense for these three matches had an average age of just 22. Whilst we have older players outside these matches to come into the group, I am confident that the lessons we have learned from these games will be locked in, and will form a new baseline for the year ahead,” he said.
The Blues have a lighter period of training for the next two months whilst the Club season gains momentum before playing Australia at the end of May.