Michael Guigou was one of France’s heroes on Friday night, when the world champions beat Norway in their EHF EURO 2018 opener in Porec. Netting his fifth individual goal seconds before the end, for the final score of 32:31 in the rematch of the World Championship 2017 Final, he may have already paved the way for ‘Les Experts’ to finish on top of their preliminary round table.
France were down most of the time and managed to turn an intermediate three goal deficit around in the last eight minutes – thanks to a great will and fighting spirit.
“It was one of the most memorable victories of my international career, really,” Guigou said later, adding: “We could have given up, and a lot of teams would have against a team such as Norway, but we didn't. All credit to ourselves – we actually believed we could come back into the game right until the end.”
The left wing, who was part of all three of France’s European championship-winning squads (2006, 2010 and 2014) does not view himself as the hero: “It was a collective win, everybody played his part and we tried a lot of different things.
“It was important for us to win. We focused on this very game since the beginning of the preparation, but now we have to validate this success by winning the next two games.”
On Sunday, France face Austria. On Tuesday, Belarus are their final opponents in Group B in Porec. For coach Didier Dinart, nothing is decided yet – despite climbing the highest mountain already: “It is not the moment to calculate. It was and is our first goal to enter the main round with the maximum points. We have two important games ahead, we look from game to game. At a EURO it is always the same: You have to be on 100 per cent in all games.”