Sylvain Ripoll, coach of Espoirs: “We are facing other difficulties”

“After Germany (1-0 Friday), Belgium: why chain the big pieces?
We wanted to face teams that represent the level that we will meet during the European Championship. (from June 9 to July 2, 2023, in Georgia and Romania). Belgium blew through their qualifying group by finishing first, they are a very talented team. We face other difficulties besides the ones we encountered in qualifying matches. It allows you to have real adversities, on another level, without denigrating anyone.

Will the rest of your program until the European Championship be of the same type?
The next preparation matches will also be against teams classified for the European Championship, yes. This is the criteria that we have defined with the coaching staff. I think we’ll manage to plan this. We will have fewer rallies than other years so we have no time to lose if we want to keep moving forward and progressing.

“We try to spend a lot of time together, create moments of life to form a group”

What can we expect from this Belgian team?
We know that they have offensive quality, with a lot of speed and percussion. There is Jérémy Doku, who we know well, who came from the A’s. They have several organizations, technical quality… But we want to impose our game. Facing opponents of this caliber is the best way to prepare. We must not relax after our qualification.

Beyond the field, what should this meeting be for?
We try to spend a lot of time together, create moments of life to form a group. We know the individual quality of our players, we know the French tank, there is no problem with that. But afterwards, it has to be linked to a collective project. And there it is more difficult for everyone… But when it is the case, individualities stand out and it is beneficial for the team and for all the players. »

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