The French ice hockey team absolutely had to beat Latvia at home in Riga this Sunday to hope to play the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing. It missed. The Blues have long hoped, but they ended up capitulating (2-1). A victory for the players of Philippe Bozon was imperative to return to the Games almost 20 years after the last French participation, in 2002 at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
– France Hockey teams (@Hockey_FRA) August 29, 2021
The Latvians, 10th in the world rankings and big favorites in this Olympic qualifying tournament, upheld the logic, with the support of the 8,000 spectators in the Riga Arena. After conceding a first goal after 11 minutes of play in the first period, the Blues were on par with their opponents.
Two first victories for nothing
Winners Thursday of the Hungarians (5-3) and Friday of the Italians (2-0), they even seemed to gain the upper hand in the second half, but Stéphane Da Costa and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, in particular, came up against the Latvian goalkeeper. At the start of the third period, Latvia doubled down, taking advantage of a numerical superiority situation embodied by winger Miks Indrasis.
The French quickly regained hope thanks to an uncrossed shot from Da Costa, but did not succeed in snatching the equalizer despite the exit of their goalkeeper for the last seconds of play. See you in Italy, during the Olympics 2026?