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FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers: France will play long game in bid to topple Spain

October 8, 2019

Continuing our series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, one of the mainstays of the French team (FIH World Ranking:12) Charles Masson looks ahead to his team’s all-important two-match clash with EuroHockey silver medalists Spain (WR:8), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place at the Estadio Betero in Valencia, Spain on 25/26 October 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below. 

    

The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How is your team preparing for these hugely important matches?
Charles Masson: We have been training four times a week. We played some games against Ireland and we have some games against Belgium and Holland in the next weeks. So we are preparing with these games, working on our tactics. We train at home as well as with the group. We are preparing well.

What can we expect to see from your team at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers?
Charles Masson: We need to be a creative group. We need to be aggressive on the pitch. We need to be patient because it is not just one game, it is two games so it is a long time. It is two times 60 minutes. We must be a real team and we need to make sure we play together.

What are your thoughts about your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers and how is your squad feeling about these matches?
Charles Masson: Spain is a strong team. As we saw, they came second in the Europeans [2019 EuroHockey Championships]. That means a lot, it means they are ready to play against us. They are aggressive in defence. They are structured. We need to be focused to play as best we can. We need to manage that and we need to be patient, as I said before. We need to find solutions on the pitch. But we will work a lot on that, looking at the tactics, with the coach.

What would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Charles Masson: It means a lot. It is a dream for everybody. There has been a lot of sacrifice. We train really hard every day, every week. It is also a lot of commitment from the Federation because they have invested a lot in us, so we need to win those games. It is a dream to be part of the Olympics.

Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.

For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, click here.

For all the latest news on the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, please visit our  official event website.

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