28 January 2017
After the semi-final against Slovenia, Valentin Porte, World champion in 2015 and voted best right back in the Olympics last year, tells us how he is experiencing this competition and his happiness to play a final at home in the presence of his family.
You made it to the final, how do you feel about that?
Porte: “It’s emotional to play in front of friends and family, and it doesn’t happen every day with the French team. So to do it here in Paris in a semi-final of the World Championship, is beautiful. The first goal has been reached, now we are close to getting the title we promised. It’s up to us to do the job. We will rely on the fans, who have supported us from the beginning; we want to give back to them.”
Of course, you were sad after the last Olympic final. How do you see the one that’s coming?
Porte: “I’m always a little apprehensive before the important games. In Rio, we collapsed against Denmark and I saw a face of the French team that I didn’t know. I thought maybe it could happen again. So I’m not as calm as I was before the games in the past. Since that final, our opponents believe in their chances. So that’s why I’m going to prepare this final with humility and seriousness.”
Did you improve because of this final?
Porte: “Yes, of course. Great teams learn from their mistakes. What we needed during the Olympics, clearly, were substitutions and physical freshness. Against Slovenia, we saw that during fifteen or twenty minutes, we could do without “Niko”, Daniel and “Titi” at the same time, without losing anything in terms of efficiency and rhythm. And it allows us to have them in shape for crunch time. This can make the difference in a final.”
Where can the French team still make progress?
Porte: “There is always something to improve on. In attack, there are still some stupid turnovers, because of a problem with timing. Such things we need to avoid because to allows our opponents back into the match. Defensively too, there are always small problems. We strive to be as close as possible to perfection.”
Photo: Stephane Pillaud/IHF