The day after their defeat in the final of the World Championship (29-22 against Norway), the French Grace Zaadi and Allison Pineau returned, Monday, December 20, on their course in Spain which led them to the gates of a historic doubled Olympic Games – World. For franceinfo: sport, they evoke the competition and its cruel outcome, the rest of their respective seasons and the European Championship which is already looming on the horizon 2022.
Franceinfo: sport: What is your best memory of this World Cup which ended on Sunday?
Grace Zaadi: (she thinks) … I had not yet wondered but I would say the final yesterday (Sunday), when we came back and I saw the stand where there were all our families, all our supporters .
Allison Pineau : (she cuts) … I think exactly the same thing: our families, our supporters ….
GZ : They had moved, they had all made the effort. And for me it is the best memory that I will remember.
You came to take first place, but are you still savoring this silver medal?
GZ : It’s a bit early to say that we are enjoying this silver medal. We are not unhappy to have it, we would have liked to have the gold medal around our neck. But the silver medal is also a great medal.
Despite this very sustained pace, do you have time to rest? Fatigue must start to accumulate …
GZ : Not too much, no. The proof is that, just after Christmas, we will return to our respective clubs abroad, so we have barely five days (break). We will have to resume training then the matches will arrive very quickly, so the machine does not have too much time to breathe.
Wasn’t it just this physical freshness that you missed in the second half of the final?
AP : It’s a little everything. I think it is already starting at the end of the first period. In the last minute, we take two goals. We also have a ball also to go to +7 and it starts from there. I was at a press conference after the match and the (Norwegian) coach said that these two goals were very important for them mentally, simply because it reduced the score. In the second half, they came back very quickly to the match, after six minutes they had regained the lead.
Behind us, we did not know how to stop the bleeding, we did not know how to find the keys and the tools to bounce back. We had opportunities to come back in the match that we did not manage to put to the bottom. Then they unfolded until the end. Once they had mastered the game, they felt that we were up against their goalkeeper and that we could not find the solutions. They only drove the point home.
At that point, what did you say to yourself to re-engage?
GZ : We tried to re-mobilize, we tried to have a burst of collective pride because we felt that we were starting to be powerless. We continued to encourage each other, to be there for each other, hoping that collectively we manage to come back to the game.
Everyone was talking about the historic double, but it is only a postponement. Do you already plan on next year and the upcoming European Championship?
AP : First of all, we already need to rest, take a break and get away from everything that has happened. We will be returning to the club very quickly so we are not already looking ahead to next year. Of course we are thinking of 2022, but we will focus with our club at first. It’s so happening that it’s really difficult to plan in the long term on a competition that will take place in 11 months (from November 4 to 20).