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France national handball team is the handball team, controlled by the French Handball Federation, that represents Francemarker in the international matches.

Results at international tournaments

France only became a major handball team in the 1990s. In the 1992 Summer Olympics, France won a surprising bronze medal, which gave birth to their first nickname: les Bronzés (being at the same time a reference to the movie Les Bronzés, very popular in France). Since then, team handball has become a very popular sport in France, although it was one of the most popular already 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 the following World Championship in 1995 in Icelandmarker, France reached again the final, which they won this time against Croatia. This was then the first world champion title for France in any team sport. The team became known as les Barjots, since all the players had played the final with an extravagant haircut (barjot being a slang word for crazy).

In the 1996 Summer Olympics, this successful generation of players experienced their first disappointment with a 4th place that left them without a medal (France lost the bronze medal game to Spain, although they had beaten them in the first round).

A year later in the 1997 World Championship, France finished third. But they didn't get any medal in the 1999 World Championship, nor in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

They had to wait until the 2001 World Championship organised in France to win another international championship. 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.

In the 2003 World Championship France lost their title but still finished third. In 2004 however, they experienced a new Olympic disappointment as they came back from Sydney without a medal. Although they won their five games of the preliminary round, they went down unexpectedly to an ageing Russian team led by goalkeeper 42 year-old 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 to them in the preliminary round. This success was the reason for their nickname until 2008, les Euros.

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

For the Beijing Olympics, the French players elected to call themselves Les Experts, which is the French title for the TV show CSI in Francemarker. They 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 became only the third team after Germany and Russia to win the World Championship, the European Championship and the Olympic Games.


Olympic Games

World Championship

European Championship

2008 Olympic squad

Gold medalists France collect their medals on August 24th 2008 in Beijing


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