France men's national handball team

The France national handball team is supervised by the French Handball Federation, and represents France in international matches. It is the first handball team to have held all three titles twice (the Danish women's team also held all three in 1997), and the only national team in its sport to hold six world titles and a total of eleven medals at the World Men's Handball Championship. With a total of five medals, including three gold in 2008, 2012 and 2021, France is also the most successful Handball team at the Summer Olympics. As of August 2021, they are the defending Olympic Champions.

France
Shirt badge/Association crest
Information
Nickname1992: les Bronzés
1993–1996: les Barjots
2001–2008: les Costauds
2008–2017: les Experts
AssociationFrench Handball Federation
CoachGuillaume Gille
Assistant coachÉrick Mathé
Olivier Maurelli
CaptainMichaël Guigou
Most capsJackson Richardson (417)
Most goalsJérôme Fernandez (1,463)
Colours
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Team colours
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Team colours
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Team colours
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Team colours
Home
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Team colours
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Team colours
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Team colours
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Team colours
Away
Results
Summer Olympics
Appearances7 (First in 1992)
Best result1st (2008, 2012, 2020)
World Championship
Appearances23 (First in 1954)
Best result1st (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017)
European Championship
Appearances14 (First in 1994)
Best result1st (2006, 2010, 2014)
Last updated on Unknown.
France men's national handball team
Medal record
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Team
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Team
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo Team
Silver medal – second place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Barcelona Team
World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1995 Iceland
Gold medal – first place 2001 France
Gold medal – first place 2009 Croatia
Gold medal – first place 2011 Sweden
Gold medal – first place 2015 Qatar
Gold medal – first place 2017 France
Silver medal – second place 1993 Sweden
Bronze medal – third place 1997 Japan
Bronze medal – third place 2003 Portugal
Bronze medal – third place 2005 Tunisia
Bronze medal – third place 2019 Germany/Denmark
European Championship
Gold medal – first place 2006 Switzerland
Gold medal – first place 2010 Austria
Gold medal – first place 2014 Denmark
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Norway
Bronze medal – third place 2018 Croatia

France's men handball team is widely regarded as the finest national team in the history of the sport.

Results at international tournamentsEdit

Since the 1990s, France has emerged as a major handball team. France won the bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics, giving birth to their first nickname: les Bronzés (meaning tanned in French, a reference both to bronze and to cult French film Les Bronzés). This led to an increased popularity of the sport in France, which was already one of the most popular in primary and secondary schools.

One year after their Olympic medal, les Bronzés reached the final of the 1993 World Championship, which they lost against Russia.

In 1995, France won the World Championship in Iceland, defeating Croatia in the final. The team became known as les Barjots because the players played the final with an extravagant haircut (barjot is a slang word for crazy in French).

The team finished 4th in the 1996 Summer Olympics (France lost the bronze medal game to Spain, whom they had beaten in the first round). France finished third a year later in the 1997 World Championship. The team finished 6th in the 1999 World Championship and in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

France won the world title again in the 2001 World Championship organised in France. During both their quarterfinal and final, against Germany and Sweden respectively, they were one goal behind until a few seconds before the end of the game, but scored a late goal and finally win in overtime with a three-goal margin. This great strength of character was cause for their new nickname: les Costauds (the strong, or the tough). Five members of les Costauds had already been world champions in 1995 with les Barjots: Jackson Richardson, Grégory Anquetil, Patrick Cazal, and the goalkeepers Bruno Martini and Christian Gaudin.

The team finished third in the 2003 World Championship. In the 2004 Olympics, the teamed finished 5th. Although they won their five games of the preliminary round, the team lost to an ageing Russian team led by 42-year-old goalkeeper Andrey Lavrov in the quarterfinals (24–26).

In the 2005 World Championship, France finished third again. This was the last international competition played by Jackson Richardson, a veteran from the first team les Bronzés. The retirement of their star meant for the French team the final transition between the early successes and the new generation of players.

In 2006 France won for the first time the European Championship, a competition in which they had never won a medal until then. In the final, they overwhelmed Spain, the reigning world champions (31–23), against whom they had lost the opening match in the preliminary round.

In 2008, France finished third in the European Championship. They were undefeated until the semi-final, which they lost to Croatia.

France won the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. The French players elected to call themselves Les Experts, which is the French title for the TV show CSI in France. The team won the gold medal in the 2008 handball tournament in Beijing, defeating underdogs Iceland in the final (28–23). Thierry Omeyer, Daniel Narcisse and Bertrand Gille were voted into the tournament's All Star team.

France won the world title again in 2009 at the 2009 World Championship, hosted by Croatia, against the organizing country, and the European title in 2010 in Austria, once more against Croatia. As a result, they became the first men's team to hold the three major titles in the sport (olympic title, world title and European title) simultaneously (Denmark women's national handball team held all three titles in 1997). It also became the third team to have won all three titles ever, the other two being Germany and Russia.

In the 2011 World Championship, France held its title, winning against Denmark (37–35 after extra time). This victory, in addition to granting an automatic participation to the 2012 Olympics, marked several achievements:

  • it became, with Romania (1964, 1974) and Sweden (1958), one of the few handball teams (on the men's side) to have successfully defended a world champion status;
  • it became (and is the only, so far) the first national handball team in history to have won four major titles in a row;
  • three players on the team (Jérôme Fernandez, Thierry Omeyer and Didier Dinart) achieved three world champions titles – putting them on par with Cornel Oţelea from Romania in the 60s (had he been present in 2009, Bertrand Gille would also have been one of them, but he missed 2009 due to injuries).

The 2012 and 2013 years were a mixed bag for the team; after an unexpected setback at the 2012 European championship where the team ended up in 11th place, it went on to be the first national handball team to retain the Olympic title at the London Olympic games. In 2013, they ended up being defeated by Croatia in this year's world championship.

2014 saw France regain its European title after losing it in 2012. Of note is that just like in 2009, the team ended up winning the final against the host country.

In 2015, they won their 5th World Champion title against host country Qatar. Thierry Omeyer was elected Most Valuable Player of the tournament; this was the first time in the IHF history that a goalkeeper was elected as an MVP. By doing so, they became the first team in the history of the sport to hold the three major titles for the second time.

In 2016, Les Experts lost their Olympic title in Rio, finishing second after a defeat in final against Denmark.

In 2017, they won their 6th World Champion title at home against Norway (33–26). Nikola Karabatic was elected Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Thierry Omeyer and Daniel Narcisse retired after the tournament, with two Olympic gold medals, three European titles, and respectively five and four world championship titles.

HonoursEdit

Olympic Games
World Championship
European Championship


Competition       Total
Olympic Games 3 1 1 5
World Championship 6 1 4 11
European Championship 3 0 2 5
Total 12 2 7 21

Competitive recordEdit

  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

Olympic GamesEdit

Games Round Position Pld W D L GF GA GD
  1936 Berlin Did not participate
  1972 Munich Did not qualify
  1976 Montreal
  1980 Moscow
  1984 Los Angeles
  1988 Seoul
  1992 Barcelona Third place 3rd of 12 7 5 0 2 157 143 +14
  1996 Atlanta Fourth place 4th of 12 7 4 0 3 190 165 +25
  2000 Sydney Match for 5th place 6th of 12 8 4 1 3 192 182 +10
  2004 Athens Match for 5th place 5th of 12 8 7 0 1 221 176 +45
  2008 Beijing Champions 1st of 12 8 7 1 0 228 185 +43
  2012 London Champions 1st of 12 8 7 0 1 229 175 +54
  2016 Rio de Janeiro Runners-up 2nd of 12 8 6 0 2 241 201 +40
  2020 Tokyo Champions 1st of 12 8 7 0 1 256 222 +34
  2024 Paris Qualified (host country)
Total 9/15 3 Titles 62 47 2 13 1,614 1,449 +265

World ChampionshipEdit

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
  1938 Did not qualify
  1954 Preliminary Round 6 3 0 1 2 26 61
  1958 Preliminary Round 9 3 1 0 2 66 57
  1961 Main Round 8 6 1 0 5 42 73
  1964 Preliminary Round 14 3 0 0 3 41 64
  1967 Preliminary Round 10 3 1 0 2 34 41
  1970 Preliminary Round 11 6 1 0 5 80 105
  1974 Did not qualify
  1978 Preliminary Round 16 3 0 0 3 54 97
  1982 Did not qualify
  1986 Did not qualify
  1990 Second round 9 6 2 1 3 138 138
  1993 Runners-up   7 5 0 2 134 131
  1995 Champions   9 7 0 2 218 185
  1997 Third place   9 7 0 2 223 206
  1999 Quarter-finals 6 9 6 0 3 242 211
  2001 Champions   9 9 0 0 233 172
  2003 Third place   10 8 0 2 286 218
  2005 Third place   10 6 2 2 301 240
  2007 Fourth place 4 10 6 0 4 300 243
  2009 Champions   10 9 0 1 296 211
  2011 Champions   10 9 1 0 327 245
  2013 Quarter-finals 6 7 5 0 2 207 182
  2015 Champions   9 8 1 0 259 215
  2017 Champions   9 9 0 0 282 218
 /  2019 Third place   10 7 1 2 278 251
  2021 Fourth place 4 9 7 0 2 267 250
 /  2023 TBD
 / /  2025
  2027
Total 25/28 6 titles 169 113 6* 50 4334 3814

European ChampionshipEdit

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
  1994 5th/6th place 6 5 2 1 2 123 120
  1996 7th/8th place 7 5 3 0 2 130 120
  1998 7th/8th place 7 5 1 1 3 110 125
  2000 Fourth place 4 7 4 1 2 173 164
  2002 5th/6th place 6 6 3 2 1 152 136
  2004 5th/6th place 6 6 3 0 3 163 154
  2006 Champions 1   8 7 0 1 243 192
  2008 Third place 3   8 6 0 2 231 207
  2010 Champions 1   8 6 2 0 225 196
  2012 Main round 11 6 2 1 3 156 163
  2014 Champions 1   8 7 0 1 259 227
  2016 5th/6th place 5 7 5 0 2 210 182
  2018 Third place 3   8 7 0 1 244 212
    2020 Preliminary round 14 3 1 0 2 82 79
   2022 Qualified
  2024 To be determined
Total 15/15 3 titles 90 57 8* 25 2501 2277
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided in a penalty shootout.

Current squadEdit

Squad for the 2021 World Men's Handball Championship.[1][2]

Head coach: Guillaume Gille

No. Pos. Name Date of birth (age) Height App. Goals Club
2 RW Yanis Lenne (1996-06-29) 29 June 1996 (age 25) 1.88 m 16 17   Montpellier Handball
5 RB Nedim Remili (1995-07-18) 18 July 1995 (age 26) 1.95 m 69 216   Paris Saint-Germain
7 CB Romain Lagarde (1997-03-05) 5 March 1997 (age 24) 1.94 m 39 52   Rhein-Neckar Löwen
9 CB Melvyn Richardson (1997-01-30) 30 January 1997 (age 24) 1.90 m 22 47   Montpellier Handball
10 RB Dika Mem (1997-08-31) 31 August 1997 (age 24) 1.94 m 52 133   Barça
11 P Nicolas Tournat (1994-04-05) 5 April 1994 (age 27) 2.00 m 31 29   Łomża Vive Kielce
12 GK Vincent Gérard (1986-12-16) 16 December 1986 (age 34) 1.89 m 97 14   Paris Saint-Germain
14 CB Kentin Mahé (1991-05-22) 22 May 1991 (age 30) 1.86 m 107 354   Telekom Veszprém
16 GK Yann Genty (1981-12-26) 26 December 1981 (age 39) 1.85 m 6 0   Paris Saint-Germain
17 LB Timothey N'Guessan (1992-09-18) 18 September 1992 (age 29) 1.96 m 78 145   Barça
19 RW Luc Abalo (1984-09-06) 6 September 1984 (age 37) 1.83 m 262 805   Elverum Håndball
21 LW Michaël Guigou (1982-01-28) 28 January 1982 (age 39) 1.80 m 283 970   USAM Nîmes Gard
22 P Luka Karabatić (1988-04-19) 19 April 1988 (age 33) 2.02 m 103 120   Paris Saint-Germain
23 P Ludovic Fabregas (1996-07-01) 1 July 1996 (age 25) 1.98 m 72 131   Barça
24 GK Wesley Pardin (1990-01-01) 1 January 1990 (age 31) 1.95 m 17 0   Pays d’Aix UC
25 LW Hugo Descat (1992-08-16) 16 August 1992 (age 29) 1.83 m 2 0   Montpellier Handball
26 CB Nicolas Claire (1987-07-10) 10 July 1987 (age 34) 1.90 m 45 45   Pays d’Aix UC
27 RB Adrien Dipanda (1988-05-03) 3 May 1988 (age 33) 2.02 m 77 91   Saint-Raphaël Var Handball
28 RW Valentin Porte (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 31) 1.90 m 108 313   Montpellier Handball
37 LB Jean-Jacques Acquevillo (1989-01-17) 17 January 1989 (age 32) 1.95 m 2 7   USAM Nîmes Gard
92 GK Remi Desbonnet (1992-02-28) 28 February 1992 (age 29) 1.82 m 0 0   USAM Nîmes Gard

RecordsEdit

Kit suppliersEdit

Since 2002, France's kit is supplied by Adidas.

Media CoverageEdit

France's matches are currently televised by beIN Sports since 2015.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "#EDFM – Une nouvelle liste de 20 joueurs". ff-handball.org (in French). 30 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Team Roster France" (PDF). ihf.info. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.

External linksEdit