Denmark vs France by 20Legend
Denmark dominated as predicted in their first game in the Golden League Cup against Russia (32-22). Denmark has the strongest squad on paper of the four teams that take part in this tournament. The Danes was not able to qualify for the Olympics in Rio, which makes this tournament even more important for them. Denmark will be hunting for a top position in the upcoming European Championship in Sweden, but need to settle their squad and know where they stand before it all starts in less than two months.
The game against the Russian Olympic champions gave a clear picture on just that. Russia obviously knows where they stand with the gold medal in Rio in mind and therefore gave several younger players a chance to shine. They left out their two best goalkeepers as well which made it a tough task to stop motivated Danes on the other side.
Denmark used their best players and it was only Anne Mette Hansen that did not participate. After a lot of technical mistakes during the first ten minutes, Denmark was able to find the right rhythm. The Russian team was quite defensive in the attacking phase with breakthroughs as their weapon. The lack of shooters from far out became clear and it was therefore an easy task for the Danish defense to get the upper hand. After Russia followed until the score showed 5-5, Denmark stabilized their performance at both ends after the long international break.
However, it was a big blow for them when Line Jorgensen has to leave the floor after a hand-injury. She had just come back after being injured last December and it did not look good. However, Denmark her substitute and the rest of the team made the confidence of the team rise as the game progressed. With high tempo combined with strong counter attacks, Russia stood no chance on getting back into the game.
The score was 15-10 in the first half and the Danish coach Klavs Bruun could rest their important playmaker Stine Jorgensen through most of the second half because of the positive energy the team created. The second half became just like the last 20 minutes of the first half and Denmark could celebrate a nice win against the defending Olympic champions.
France has left out three of their biggest stars and lost against Norway (19-17) in their first game. Both teams have sent weaker squads compared to the Olympics with Norway leaving out ten of their players from Rio. France has also left out the three players Allison Pineau, Alexandra Lacrabere and Amandine Leynaud. However, the experimental Norwegian team played well defensively against France, mostly because of a brilliant goalkeeper Silje Solberg who played a brilliant second half. France was obviously not at their sharpest level both defensively or offensively which gave them no chance of beating Norway.
The point of this tournament for Denmark is simply to gain confidence within the team and get the team settled towards the Euros in two months. Neither of the other teams in this tournament, Norway, France and Russia, have the same purpose. They are experimental instead by testing their younger and exciting talents that could make the team in the future years.
Denmark managed to stabilize both defensively and offensively after the first ten minutes against Russia. I think that France will keep struggling to break through tonight just as they did against Norway. I still keep Denmark as the clear favorites in this tournament and pick them to cover the handicap tonight.