France men's national handball team

Last updated

France national handball team logo.png
Nickname1992: les Bronzés
1993–1996: les Barjots
2001–2008: les Costauds
2008–2017: les Experts
Association French Handball Federation
Coach Guillaume Gille
Assistant coachÉrick Mathé
Olivier Maurelli
Captain Valentin Porte
Most caps Jackson Richardson (417)
Most goals Jérôme Fernandez (1,463)
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Summer Olympics
Appearances7 (First in 1992 )
Best resultGold medal icon.svg (2008, 2012, 2020)
World Championship
Appearances23 (First in 1954 )
Best resultGold medal icon.svg (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017)
European Championship
Appearances15 (First in 1994 )
Best resultGold medal icon.svg (2006, 2010, 2014)
Last updated on Unknown.
France men's national handball team
Medal record
Olympic Games
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2008 Beijing Team
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2012 London Team
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2020 Tokyo Team
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 1992 Barcelona Team
World Championship
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 1995 Iceland
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2001 France
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2009 Croatia
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2011 Sweden
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2015 Qatar
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2017 France
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 1993 Sweden
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 1997 Japan
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2003 Portugal
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2005 Tunisia
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2019 Germany/Denmark
European Championship
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2006 Switzerland
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2010 Austria
Gold medal icon (G initial).svg 2014 Denmark
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2008 Norway
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2018 Croatia
Mediterranean Games
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 1987 Latakia
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 1993 Languedoc-Roussillon
Bronze medal icon (B initial).svg 2001 Tunis
Silver medal icon (S initial).svg 2009 Pescara

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

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:

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.


Olympic Games
World Championship
European Championship

CompetitionGold medal icon.svgSilver medal icon.svgBronze medal icon.svgTotal
Olympic Games 3115
World Championship 61411
European Championship 3025

Competitive record

 Champions   Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

Olympic Games

Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg 1936 Berlin Did not participate
Flag of Germany.svg 1972 Munich Did not qualify
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg 1976 Montreal
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg 1980 Moscow
Flag of the United States.svg 1984 Los Angeles
Flag of South Korea.svg 1988 Seoul
Flag of Spain.svg 1992 Barcelona Third place3rd of 127502157143+14
Flag of the United States.svg 1996 Atlanta Fourth place4th of 127403190165+25
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 2000 Sydney Match for 5th place6th of 128413192182+10
Flag of Greece.svg 2004 Athens Match for 5th place5th of 128701221176+45
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg 2008 Beijing Champions1st of 128710228185+43
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg 2012 London Champions1st of 128701229175+54
Flag of Brazil.svg 2016 Rio de Janeiro Runners-up2nd of 128602241201+40
Flag of Japan.svg 2020 Tokyo Champions1st of 128701256222+34
Flag of France.svg 2024 Paris Qualified (host country)
Flag of the United States.svg 2028 Los Angeles Future events
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 2032 Brisbane
Total9/153 Titles62472131,6141,449+265

World Championship

Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg 1938 Did not qualify
Flag of Sweden.svg 1954 Preliminary Round630122661
Flag of East Germany.svg 1958 Preliminary Round931026657
Flag of Germany.svg 1961 Main Round861054273
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg 1964 Preliminary Round1430034164
Flag of Sweden.svg 1967 Preliminary Round1031023441
Flag of France.svg 1970 Preliminary Round11610580105
Flag of East Germany.svg 1974 Did not qualify
Flag of Denmark.svg 1978 Preliminary Round1630035497
Flag of Germany.svg 1982 Did not qualify
Flag of Switzerland.svg 1986 Did not qualify
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg 1990 Second round96213138138
Flag of Sweden.svg 1993 Runners-up Silver medal icon.svg 7502134131
Flag of Iceland.svg 1995 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 9702218185
Flag of Japan.svg 1997 Third place Bronze medal icon.svg 9702223206
Flag of Egypt.svg 1999 Quarter-finals69603242211
Flag of France.svg 2001 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 9900233172
Flag of Portugal.svg 2003 Third place Bronze medal icon.svg 10802286218
Flag of Tunisia.svg 2005 Third place Bronze medal icon.svg 10622301240
Flag of Germany.svg 2007 Fourth place410604300243
Flag of Croatia.svg 2009 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 10901296211
Flag of Sweden.svg 2011 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 10910327245
Flag of Spain.svg 2013 Quarter-finals67502207182
Flag of Qatar.svg 2015 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 9810259215
Flag of France.svg 2017 Champions Gold medal icon.svg 9900282218
Flag of Denmark.svg / Flag of Germany.svg 2019 Third place Bronze medal icon.svg 10712278251
Flag of Egypt.svg 2021 Fourth place49702267250
Flag of Poland.svg / Flag of Sweden.svg 2023 Qualified
Flag of Croatia.svg / Flag of Denmark.svg / Flag of Norway.svg 2025 Future events
Flag of Germany.svg 2027
Total25/286 titles1691136*5043343814

European Championship

Flag of Portugal.svg 1994 5th/6th place65212123120
Flag of Spain.svg 1996 7th/8th place75302130120
Flag of Italy.svg 1998 7th/8th place75113110125
Flag of Croatia.svg 2000 Fourth place47412173164
Flag of Sweden.svg 2002 5th/6th place66321152136
Flag of Slovenia.svg 2004 5th/6th place66303163154
Flag of Switzerland.svg 2006 Champions1 Gold medal europe.svg 8701243192
Flag of Norway.svg 2008 Third place3 Bronze medal europe.svg 8602231207
Flag of Austria.svg 2010 Champions1 Gold medal europe.svg 8620225196
Flag of Serbia.svg 2012 Main round116213156163
Flag of Denmark.svg 2014 Champions1 Gold medal europe.svg 8701259227
Flag of Poland.svg 2016 5th/6th place57502210182
Flag of Croatia.svg 2018 Third place3 Bronze medal europe.svg 8701244212
Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Norway.svg Flag of Sweden.svg 2020 Preliminary round1431028279
Flag of Hungary.svg Flag of Slovakia.svg 2022 Fourth place49603278248
Flag of Germany.svg 2024 Future events
Flag of Denmark.svg Flag of Norway.svg Flag of Sweden.svg 2026
Flag of Portugal.svg Flag of Spain.svg Flag of Switzerland.svg 2028
Total15/183 titles99638*2827792525
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided in a penalty shootout.

Current squad

Squad for the 2022 European Men's Handball Championship. A 20-player squad was announced on 28 December. [1] On 23 December it was announced that Nedim Remili would miss the tournament, due to a foot injury. [2] Luka Karabatić had to withdraw on 31 December, due to an injury. [3] Due to positive COVID-19 tests by some players, some changes were made on 2 January 2022. [4] An updated 20-player roster was submitted for the tournament on 7 January 2022. [5]

Head coach: Guillaume Gille

No.Pos.NameDate of birth (age)HeightApp.GoalsClub
2RW Yanis Lenne (1996-06-29)29 June 1996 (aged 25)1.87 m1820 Flag of France.svg Montpellier Handball
4CB Aymeric Minne (1997-04-20)20 April 1997 (aged 24)1.86 m37 Flag of France.svg HBC Nantes
6RW Julien Bos (1998-08-18)18 August 1998 (aged 23)1.88 m21 Flag of France.svg Montpellier Handball
7CB Romain Lagarde (1997-03-05)5 March 1997 (aged 24)1.94 m5670 Flag of France.svg Pays d’Aix UC
9RB Melvyn Richardson (1997-01-30)30 January 1997 (aged 24)1.90 m4298 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
10RB Dika Mem (1997-08-31)31 August 1997 (aged 24)1.94 m78223 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
11P Nicolas Tournat (1994-04-05)5 April 1994 (aged 27)2.00 m5698 Flag of Poland.svg Łomża Vive Kielce
12GK Vincent Gérard (1986-12-16)16 December 1986 (aged 35)1.88 m12317 Flag of France.svg Paris Saint-Germain
13CB Nikola Karabatić (1984-04-11)11 April 1984 (aged 37)1.96 m3241238 Flag of France.svg Paris Saint-Germain
14CB Kentin Mahé (1991-05-22)22 May 1991 (aged 30)1.86 m136439 Flag of Hungary.svg Telekom Veszprém
23P Ludovic Fabregas (1996-07-01)1 July 1996 (aged 25)1.98 m98203 Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
24GK Wesley Pardin (1990-01-01)1 January 1990 (aged 32)1.95 m220 Flag of France.svg Pays d’Aix UC
25LW Hugo Descat (1992-08-16)16 August 1992 (aged 29)1.83 m29115 Flag of France.svg Montpellier Handball
28RW Valentin Porte (1990-09-07)7 September 1990 (aged 31)1.90 m153373 Flag of France.svg Montpellier Handball
29RW Benoît Kounkoud (1997-02-19)19 February 1997 (aged 24)1.88 m1820 Flag of France.svg Paris Saint-Germain
31LW Dylan Nahi (1999-11-30)30 November 1999 (aged 22)1.92 m1231 Flag of Poland.svg Łomża Vive Kielce
33P Théo Monar (2001-06-06)6 June 2001 (aged 20)2.00 m312 Flag of France.svg HBC Nantes
34LB Karl Konan (1995-06-03)3 June 1995 (aged 26)1.97 m32 Flag of France.svg Pays d’Aix UC
39LB Thibaud Briet (1999-12-14)14 December 1999 (aged 22)2.05 m00 Flag of France.svg HBC Nantes
92GK Remi Desbonnet (1992-02-28)28 February 1992 (aged 29)1.82 m50 Flag of France.svg USAM Nîmes Gard


Kit suppliers

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

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  1. "#EdFM – EHF EURO 2022 – Le groupe étoffé avec cinq joueurs supplémentaires" (in French). Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  2. "Victime d'une fracture du pied gauche, Nedim Remili est forfait pour l'Euro avec les Bleus". Retrieved 30 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "#EdFM – Luka Karabatic forfait pour l'EHF EURO 2022" (in French). Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  4. "#EdFM – EHF EURO 2022 – Reprise de la préparation" (in French). Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. "#EdFM – La liste des joueurs sélectionnés pour l'EHF EURO 2022" (in French). Retrieved 7 January 2022.