The French women's national team seems to have more success at World Championships than at EHF EURO events, with one world gold and three silver versus just two European bronze medals to their name. The world title from 2003 was a final win over Hungary in Zagreb. Their last world silver medal they won in China in 2011 when France were beaten by Norway in the World Championship Final.
After several years without any medals and several bitter quarter-final defeats, i.e. at the Olympic Games 2012 and the World Championships 2013 and 2015, the team jumped into the spotlight again when it won silver at Rio 2016.
With the EHF EURO 2018 taking place in France for the first time, the side of former and current head coach Olivier Krumbholz - who had coached the team from 1998 to 2013; resuming control once again from Alain Portes in early 2016 - will look to take advantage of their physically strong back court scorers like Alexandra Lacrabere, brilliant game technicians like Allison Pineau and swift wings such as Siraba Dembele or goalkeepers like Amandine Leynaud.
Allison Pineau’s career recently reached another high when she won silver and was named All-star left back at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
In 2009, she became the first French female to be voted World Handball Player of the Year. In the same year she won silver with national at the World Championship in China; a feat she repeated two years later at the World Championship 2011 in Brazil. She was also part of the of the World Championship's All-star Team as best centre back.
As of October 2016, in almost 200 internationals she scored more than 500 goals for France. On the club level, after several club changes in the recent past, she has found a new home at Brest Bretagne Handball for the 2016/17 season.
It was in December 2009 at the World Championship in China that Siraba Dembele became a true member of the national team. Facing a loss against Sweden in the group and hence a possible elimination, Dembele came into the game at half-time and her determination and will power lead France to a 23:21 win and eventually the silver medal some games later – a feat the team repeated two years later in Brazil. Dembele was also part of the team that won silver at the 2016 Olympic Games.
That is even more impressive as her way into handball was more or less coincidental. Her sister wanted to play handball and Dembeler just registered with her at Saint-Rémy-sur-Havre in France.
Dembele is known for explosive game in attack as well as for a rigorous defence, a combination which arguably puts her among the best wing players in the world. On the club level she joined Russian side Rostov-Don at the beginning of the 2016/17 after having played at HC Vardar for the past three seasons. together with her teammate Allison Pineau, for WHC Vardar SCBT in FYR Macedonia.
In his active playing days Olivier Krumbholz was great player at the Stade Messin students' club (SMEC) where he played alongside his brothers Jean-Paul and Pierre.
From playing he went directly into coaching and led the ASPTT Metz (now Metz Handball) women's team to four national championships between 1989 to 1995.
After having coached France's women's national junior team from 1992 to 1998, he took over Carole Martin's place as head coach for the national women's senior team from 1998 to June 2013 when he was succeeded by Alain Portes.
However, is was not a long lasting absence. In January 2016, the French Handball Federation asked him to coach the women's team once more - and he accepted, thus suceeding Portes less than three years after he had left the helm.
Past Performance at EHF EURO events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||14th place|