After a first official day of competition on Saturday marked by a first medal in judo, new highlights await the French this Sunday during the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
Men’s football: France-Afrique du Sd (10h)
The wait was long to see a French men’s football team again at the Olympic Games. 25 years after their last participation, the Blues did not really shine on Thursday, for their entry into the competition against Mexico (4-1). Led by an André-Pierre Gignac who faced a team he knew well to play in the Mexican championship, France however sank (4-1).
This Sunday, the selection led by Sylvain Ripoll no longer has the right to make mistakes against South Africa, beaten for its part by Japan (1-0) at the opening. Disturbed by cases of coronavirus the days preceding the competition, the South African selection is in the same situation as the Blues, with the obligation to win. The loser would probably already be eliminated, depending on the outcome of the other meeting between Japan and Mexico.
Judo -66kg men and -52kg women (from 11am)
Will French judo give a new medal to the French delegation? After Luka Mkheidze this Saturday, in bronze in the under 60kg category, new French chances exist this Sunday morning.
Amandine Buchard qualified this Sunday morning for the quarter-finals in less than 52 kg, which quickly dominated the Georgian Tetiana Levytska-Shukvani on ippon. In the under 66 kg category, Kilian Le Bouch dominated the Nigerian Ismael Alhassane, to reach the eighth of the final where he will find the double world champion Hifumi Abe.
Foil fencing for women and epee for men
Ysaora Thibus will play her round of 16 in foil against Larisa Korobeynikova. The Frenchwoman had some scares to qualify against the Hungarian Flora Pasztor but managed (15-13) to get the better of her opponent.
On the men’s side, Romain Cannone and Alexandre Bardenet will see them the knockout stages of the épée. Bardenet turned the tables against American Curtis McDowald. Led 8-12, the French chained 7 ranks to qualify. Cannone was able to master his match against Ruben Limardo Gascon, 2012 Olympic champion.
Men’s basketball: France-United States (2 p.m.)
After a failed preparation, with three defeats including a surprising last against Japan, the French basketball team goes straight to the heart of the matter in its Olympic tournament, with a shock against the United States. Led by its NBA players including Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum or Evan Fournier, the Blues can still have ambitions against the defending champion.
During their last opposition in an international poster, Vincent Collet’s team brought down the United States in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Championship. “We know that they have a lot of pride, so they will try to mark the spirits against us, estimated Nicolas Batum for RMC Sport. For us it’s a great opportunity to see where we are as a team, and above all, we know that regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s match, even if we want to win, if we lose, we have two games later to qualify for the quarter-finals, that’s our number 1 goal. “
Women’s handball: France-Hungary (2:30 p.m.)
Vice-Olympic champion in Rio, the French women’s handball team will once again aim for at least a medal in Tokyo. The selection led by Olivier Krumbholz begins its Olympic tournament this Sunday with a clash against Hungary.
In group B, France will also find Spain, Sweden, Russia and Brazil. Les Bleues will have to finish in the top four of their own to reach the quarter-finals and continue the Olympic adventure. Already titled during the world championship (2017) and European (2018), the Blue have nevertheless lost several players to injury in recent weeks. “It is certain that this does not suit us and that there are a lot of modifications to be made”, admitted during the preparation the coach Olivier Krumbholz, especially concerned about the void left by Siraba Dembélé.
“The last time she was not there, we broke our face in terms of results and not by chance,” he recalled in reference to the failure of the 2019 Worlds, left in the first round in Kumamoto, already in Japan. On paper, Hungary seems the most affordable team in this group B.