Djukic relishing France clash

28 July 2012 / 13:21

Great Britain men's handball coach Dragan Djukic is relishing the prospect of playing reigning gold medallists and world champions France in their first-ever match at the Olympic Games on Sunday.

In a clash of true David and Goliath proportions, Team GB, who were only formed in 2006 with the intention of competing at London 2012, take the court in Group A of the preliminary stages at the impressive Copper Box against the all-conquering French, who topped the podium in Beijing and are four-time world champions.

After a turbulent journey over the last six years where the players made many sacrifices in search of the Olympic dream it seems a fitting reward for Djukic's men.

And far from being daunted by the encounter, Serbian Djukic's mouth is watering at the chance to grace the same court as the team that is widely regarded as the best ever.

"It is an amazing moment, to play the best team ever in the Olympics," he said. "This France team has broken a million records and they are here to defend their Olympic title.

"We have to enjoy this game because we have nothing to lose. Everybody will be watching and it is a pleasure to be there and try ourselves against some of the best players ever, it is amazing just to play them.

"They are very experienced and physically the strongest team in the planet. They have stayed together for a very long time and built one of the strongest defences. They have a lot of great individuals, who are products of the system, and we hope to do something similar, to build a young strong team who go on after the Olympics and replicate what they did.

"If we want to win we have to play some unusual handball. It's difficult because everyone knows everything about each other but we have to make a few surprises.

"I really support everything about our team, but it will be difficult to get even close to France. Our goal remains the same we have to target the non-European teams, this is just the opening game."

Djukic has a full 14-man squad available for the game, with Chris McDermott having recovered from a knock he took during the final warm-up game with Serbia on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the women become the first-ever side to represent Team GB at the Olympics when they play Montenegro on Saturday night.