France national handball team
|Nickname||1992 : les « Bronzés »
1993 – 1996 : les « Barjots »
2001 – 2008 : les « Costauds »
2008 – : les « Experts »
|Association||French Handball Federation|
|Most caps||Jackson Richardson (417)|
|Most goals||Jérôme Fernandez (1452)|
|Appearances||6 (first in 1992)|
|Best result||1st (2008, 2012)|
|Appearances||20 (first in 1954)|
|Best result||1st (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015)|
|Appearances||12 (first in 1994)|
|Best result||1st (2006, 2010, 2014)|
|Last updated on Unknown.|
They are as of February 2015 the current double reigning Olympic Champions, World Champions and European Champions. The French men's team, is the first team, on the men's side to have held all three titles (The Olympics, The World Championship and the Euro Championship) simultaneously with a double defending title. They are also the first national team, on the men's and the women's side to have held The Olympics, The World Championship and the Euro Championship titles simultaneously twice. France current team is widely regarded as arguably the finest national team in the history of this sport.
Results at international tournaments
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.
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 beat 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 managed to score 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 went down 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 managed to win 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 semifinal, 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. They became the first men's team to hold the Olympic title, the World title and a continental title simultaneously. (Denmark women's national handball team held all three titles in 1997). They are also the third team to have won all three titles ever, the other two being Germany and Russia.
Finally, it has successfully held its title at the 2011 World Championship against Denmark, winning 37–35 after extra time. This victory means they are automatically qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London. This victory also marks several achievements:
- it is, with Romania, the only handball team (on the men's side) to have successfully defended a world champion status;
- it is so far the only national handball team in history to have won four (and even five) major titles in a row;
- it is the only national handball team in history to have won five world championships;
- three players on the team, Jérôme Fernandez, Thierry Omeyer and Didier Dinart are now three times world champions in their discipline – 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).
In 2012, they become the first team on men's side to retain the olympic title.
In 2015, they won their 5th World Champion title against host country Qatar. Thierry Omeyer was elected Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Champions Runners-up Third Place Fourth Place
|1936 Berlin||Did not enter|
|Not held from 1948 to 1968|
|1972 Munich||Did not qualify|
|1984 Los Angeles|
|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||Qualified|
|Germany 1938||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Sweden 1954||Preliminary Round||6||3||0||1||2||26||61|
|East Germany 1958||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|West Germany 1961||Main Round||8||6||1||0||5||42||73|
|Czechoslovakia 1964||Preliminary Round||9||3||0||0||3||28||58|
|Sweden 1967||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|France 1970||Preliminary Round||12||6||1||0||5||80||105|
|East Germany 1974||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Denmark 1978||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|West Germany 1982||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Switzerland 1986||Did not qualify||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Czechoslovakia 1990||Second round||9||6||2||1||3||138||138|
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided in a penalty shootout.
|Portugal 1994||5th/6th place||6||5||2||1||2||123||120|
|Spain 1996||7th/8th place||7||5||3||0||2||130||120|
|Italy 1998||7th/8th place||7||5||1||1||3||110||125|
|Croatia 2000||Fourth place||4||7||4||1||2||173||164|
|Sweden 2002||5th/6th place||6||6||3||2||1||152||136|
|Slovenia 2004||5th/6th place||6||6||3||0||3||163||154|
|Norway 2008||Third place||3||8||6||0||2||231||207|
|Serbia 2012||Main round||11||6||2||1||3||156||163|
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided in a penalty shootout.
Head coach: Claude Onesta
2008 Olympic squad
- 12 Daouda Karaboué (Montpellier HB, France) (goalkeeper)
- 16 Thierry Omeyer (THW Kiel, Germany) (goalkeeper)
- 2 Jérôme Fernandez (Barcelona, Spain)
- 3 Didier Dinart (BM Ciudad Real, Spain)
- 4 Cédric Burdet (Montpellier HB, France)
- 5 Guillaume Gille (HSV Hamburg, Germany)
- 6 Bertrand Gille (HSV Hamburg, Germany)
- 8 Daniel Narcisse (Chambéry Savoie Handball, France)
- 11 Olivier Girault (Paris Handball, France)
- 13 Nikola Karabatić (Montpellier HB, France)
- 14 Christophe Kempe (Toulouse Union Handball, France)
- 18 Joël Abati (Montpellier HB, France)
- 19 Luc Abalo (US Ivry, France)
- 21 Michaël Guigou (Montpellier HB, France)
- 26 Cédric Paty (Chambéry Savoie Handball, France)
Since 2002, France's kit are currently supplied by Adidas.
France's matches are currently televised by Canal+ which will last until 2017.