|October 31st, 2009|
|03||Round-Robin||3:30pm||FRA - POL||2 - 2 (1 - 1)||Final|
Boosted by a vibrant rendition of La Marseillaise by the home crowd, the French team immediately pushed forward, and Frédéric SOYEZ had the crowd on their feet in expectation with a deflection that shaved the cross bar. But the Polish defense was expecting this initial burst and absorbed well the pressure. The game became more balance, with the Poles mounting some dangerous counter-attacks, and it is finally Marcin STRYKOWSKI who opened the score in the 17th minute with a swift deflection that surprised Henri-Julien LHOMME in the French goal.
The goal slowed down the French momentum for a few minutes, but they soon pushed forward again. They created multiple attacking opportunities but were unable to conclude them in the circle in front of Mariusz CHYŁA, in a very good day in the Polish goal. The French were finally rewarded just before the break when they earned a penalty-corner after yet another decisive rush by Frédéric SOYEZ on the right wing. The initial shot was saved but Matthieu DURCHON collected the rebound and slammed it in goal, much to the delight of the impatient fans.
Matthieu DURCHON earned another penalty-corner just after the break but the French tried an option that did not work. They did not miss the chance to take the lead a few minutes later on another penalty-corner, this time shot directly by Frédéric SOYEZ. The Polish team started to push forward more to come back in the match and the game shifted for a while in the French defensive zone. But this also gave more space at the other end, where the French attackers had some good chances to increase the score, including on a penalty-corner by Frederic SOYEZ that hit the post.
On the counter-attack that followed, Marcin STRYKOWSKI surprised again the French defense to score his second goal of the day and tie the game. He could have added a third one soon after but missed his control after going around the goal-keeper! In the last ten minutes, both teams threw caution to the wind and the game swung wildly from one end to the other, putting the crowd though all ranges of emotions, but no more goal was scored.
Although a close and tough game was expected, the French were certainly disappointed by a final result that does not start their qualification campaign with the expected momentum.