|May 6th, 2013|
|3||Round Robin||6:00pm||FRA - POL||4 - 2 (2 - 1)||Final||x 3|
Before the match, Szymon Hutek (Poland) was honored for his 100th International Cap, and his teammate Mateusz Poltaszewski for his 50th Cap, while Michal Kasprzyk earned his first Cap for Poland.
With sun finally back and a good crowd cheering them on, France started at full speed and forced a penalty-corner on their first action, but their option fizzled and it was soon the turn of the Poles to have a chance at the other end: Piotr Kozlowski did not go for subtleties and powered the ball over the head of the French defenders to grab the early lead.
France settled their nerves and tried to take control of play, but their intense activity was hindered by too many unforced errors to be really threatening. Matthieu Durchon had a good opportunity, but Arkadiusz Matuszak stood tall in the Polish goal to block the violent shot from close range. France were finally rewarded of their efforts after 20 minutes, when a shot by Gaspard Baumgarten eluded the keeper’s glove.
With the score back at parity, France continued their relentless assaults and had a golden opportunity to take the lead on an open net, but a Polish defenders arrived from nowhere for a miraculous save on the high shot. The end of period was clearly dominated by France, but Poland did not lose their structure under pressure and were matching step for step the relentless pace of their opponent.
France finally took the lead with 2 minutes to go in the period, when Martin Genestet managed to steal a ball from a defender and delivered a pass for Matthieu Durchon sliding in front of the goal, celebrating in style his return in the French team after 4 years of retirement. Les Bleus resumed on the same tempo after the break, monopolizing the ball and threatening the Polish circle, but the Poles were holding tight. They even had a chance on a swift solitary counter-attack by Krystian Makowski that split the French defense and was only stopped by a desperate attempt by Martin Zylbermann in the French goal.
Hugo Genestet gave a more comfortable cushion to France in the 47th minute, sliding behind the keeper to collect a loose ball and deflect it in goal. The local crowd was now breathing more comfortably, pushing their team for more goals. However, the French, too focused on attacking, left space to the high Polish attackers and Karol Majchrzak scored a solidary goal with less than 5 minutes to go, setting up a torrid end of match.
The score was settled by Martin Genestet, scoring with a couple minutes to go after a phenomenal run by Matthieu Durchon, carrying the ball over 50m, dragging the keeper on one side and delivering a gem of a pass for his teammate for an easy tap-in in front of the empty goal. France will be happy with their reaction after their shaky start, while Poland are already with their back to the wall in the tight race for qualification.