Paris 2024 Olympic Games: French handball teams focused on their opponents in their quest for a new Olympic title

The French handball players are fixated on their opponents during the Olympic tournament. A tournament that promises to be tougher than ever for the two reigning Olympic champion teams.

The French handball players, reigning Olympic and European champions, inherited the Danish world masters in their group for the Paris Olympic Games (July 26-August 11 ), according to the draw made on Tuesday in Paris. The Blues will open the competition by directly facing Denmark on July 27 at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center, before facing Norway .

A way for Guillaume Gille, the coach of the French team, to "start the competition strong, against the two biggest cars." With this match "decorum is established" he explains. This remake, from the group stage, of the last Euro final at the start of the year does not compromise the chances of qualification: four teams of each group of six advances to the quarter-finals.

It could even be seen as a strategic choice on the part of Guillaume Gille. Indeed, a particularity of handball, once the first ten teams of the tournament were drawn, the French coach thanks to the status of host country, was able to choose between group A and group B. He chose group B. .

"More affordable"

According to him this group "includes two adversaries with many references but a more approachable rest of the group" which is& rsquo;opposed to a group A "with a very high density". It is completed by the Norway of Sander Sagosen, as well as Hungary, Egypt, and Argentina.

But the blue coach did not fail to remind us that "with these ambitions, we are not afraid of facing anyone, and at the same time we fear every team". This edition of the Games is, however, for Gille "the toughest of all the Olympic campaigns".

If Nikola Karabatic's band and Mikkel Hansen's band shared the first two places in their group, they would be sure not to cross paths before a possible final on August 11 at the Pierre Mauroy stadium de Villeneuve d’Ascq.

In January, the two selections were only decided in overtime (33-31 a.p.) in the Euro-2024 final. Shock of the 2023 World Cup, which this time turned to the advantage of the Danes, the poster is also that of the Tokyo Olympic final where the Blues won a third gold medal.

Girls avoid Norway

The French handball players, world champions and in search of a second consecutive Olympic coronation, avoid, for their part, Norway, their rival N.1, according to the draw carried out Tuesday in Paris. They find themselves in a pool made up of the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain, Brazil and Angola.

The particular configuration, which allows the host country to choose between group A and group B once the first 10 nations have been drawn, allowed Olivier Krumbholz, the coach of the ;rsquo;France team, to opt for group B and thus avoid Norway, with a single objective "finish first in the group".

According to him, "pool A is made up of big teams" and would have given rise to numerous "difficult matches" he declared to the AFP. He specifies that this choice of group will allow his team "to arrive with more freshness in the final phase" facing < em>“teams which will perhaps leave a lot of energy to avoid France in the quarter-final”.

M. Krumbholz also recalled the importance of arriving in the quarter-finals and winning this match, a real turning point in the competition: "If we spend the quarter against a formidable team, I have full confidence in my players. The French team has a lot of experience.

Hungary for beginners

If the Blues and the Norwegian European champions, who have shared all the international titles since the Tokyo Olympics, finish as expected in first place in their group, they could only potentially meet in the final August 10 at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d’Ascq.

To reach the quarter-finals, Estelle Nze Minko's band must rank among the four best teams in their group of six completed by the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain , Brazil and Angola. A formality a priori for a team at the top of its art during the last World Cup in December in Herning (Denmark) where it gained the upper hand over Norway in the final (31-28).

Especially since the exclusion of Russia, finalist of the last two Olympic tournaments, each time against the French, opened the table by excluding a leading contender selection.  His players can offer a grand finale to coach Olivier Krumbholz : Messin, of all the international medals of the French women's team in two mandates (1998-2013 and 2016-2024) has announced that these Games would be his last. Start of the end scheduled for July 25 against Hungary at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center for Les Bleues' entry into the running.

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