Only three tickets are still at stake for the event taking place through August 24-September 2 in Gdynia (Poland) and Randers (Denmark) and the winners of the two third-round Pools – the other to be played later this week in Italy, with the hosts joined in Zocca by Germany, Slovenia and the Netherlands – and the second-ranked with the best score eventually joining the organizers and the other teams already qualified as per their result in the previous edition or in the second-round qualification tournaments played this past April.
France’s head coach Jean-Manuel Leprovost recently had to drop out 4 players from the sixteen that had joined the last training camp completed on Tuesday in Saint-Jean d’Illac. “They all worked very hard and it is always very difficult to make this choice. They are all extremely competitive and we had to go through long analyses to finalize our decision” he says. Three players sidelined by some injuries or not in their best shape – Quentin Richard, Dimitri Walgenwitz and Faipule Kolohilaqi – were excluded from the roster and the same applies to Daryl Bultor that will be joining the youth national team for the upcoming “8 Nations Tournament”.
France will open its campaign on Wednesday by playing Austria, with the guests relying on the contribution of Aleksandar Blagojevic (206 cm) that has been already playing also for the senior national team. “We have been scheduling our training sessions at 7 pm, i.e. the starting time of all our matches, to get well adjusted and ready for our debut. We have enjoyed excellent conditions since our arrival here” so Leprovost, who openly praises the great job done by the local organizers. “My players are still unhappy with the outcome of the second round qualifier we played this past April in the Czech Republic and they are really looking forward to joining the other teams that have booked their pass for the European Championship” adds Leprovost who, even though this group finished fourth at last year’s Youth Worlds in Argentina, says the team will just take it match after match.