Handball: the Blue want to impose their law on the world championship



Their Olympic title is still hot. Barely four months since they went to look for this holy grail, the only one missing from their record of double world champions (in 2003 and 2017) and European champions (2018), and here we are again the Bleues du handball giving the work on the trade.

→ READ. Tokyo Olympics: French handball players hold their first Olympic coronation

Against Angola, they begin their world championship on Friday, December 3 (which opened on Wednesday in Spain) with the ambition to mark their sport as did the French men’s team, which had a great time knocking out the competition between 2008 and 2012, triumphing at the Beijing Games before winning almost everything (except Euro 2012) on the international scene and winning the Olympic double in London. “The boys were able to stay at the top, evolve without questioning everything, and this is an example for us, comments coach Olivier Krumbholz. But we have perfectly established systems in front of us on the side of Norway or Russia, and teams which will now play against the Olympic champions in each time of reference matches. So we are full of humility. While being aware of the value of this group. “

Sustainable performance

Have they reached such a degree of maturity that they can display great certainties, the daughters of Olivier Krumbholz? “Nothing is obviously guaranteed, warns the president of the French Handball Federation, Philippe Bana. But the French women’s team has demonstrated for twenty years a capacity to produce sustainable performance. So betting on a presence of the Blue in the last four seems rational to me. “ And the federal boss listed the ingredients for success: “Since training, a whole journey that makes girls grow and leads them to success, a French championship which in my opinion has become the best in the world, clubs that also shine on a European scale, in short, all the flashing lights are green. And the Olympic conquest blew up the last psychological barrier. “

This long-awaited gold medal, the psychologist Richard Ouvrard has helped to find it by accompanying the Blue since 2016. The adventure ended after Tokyo and he now works with the French basketball teams. But the expert, very attached to the collective and the technical support of the Bleues du handball, is also convinced of the potential of “This exceptional generation” : “The group is smart. The girls communicate very well together, they have the resources to be on the world podium. “

Maintain public attention until 2024

However, we know how difficult it is often to bounce back from a major title in the same year. Moreover, only the Danes in 1996 after the Atlanta Games or the Norwegians in 2008 after those in Beijing managed to double the stake on the competition following their Olympic victory, a European championship in this case. “What can hinder performance is not to put the site back on the ground, indicates Richard Ouvrard. I usually say that when you are at the top, before wanting to conquer another, you must first descend from the mountain. When everything is shining, it’s hard to come back to yourself and refocus. “

Olivier Krumbholz masters this metaphor of the mountain very well. “I have the experience of success and failure with this group, he lets go, referring to the 2019 World Cup where the Blue, eliminated from the start, finished in a sad 13e square. Staying mobilized is complicated. That’s why I’m quite happy with our two preparation matches won against Hungary, especially the second where we went to snatch the victory by one point. “

In this new long-term campaign for Les Bleues, the strategist does not want to focus on Paris 2024, even if the deadline is not neutral. “It’s obviously on everyone’s mind, admits Olivier Krumbholz, but to prepare well for 2024, we must continue to shine. Because our goal is to bring a fervent audience behind us in Paris, and we know very well that we must therefore keep our attention until then. “ It is the constraint of excellence of French handball. “Our discipline has the singularity of rekindling the light every year on a major event, and we have to be there, concludes Philippe Bana. But on the horizon, the absolute quest obviously remains these Home Games. Our champions have won everything except that. It’s the only thing we’ve never done. And these girls can do it. “

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A World Marathon

The Obstacle Course for Les Bleues begins on Friday 3 December, with the first match of their preliminary round against Angola. Then will come the two other meetings of their group A, against Slovenia on December 5 and Montenegro on the 7. The first three will be qualified with their points acquired for the main round, where the teams will cross with the group B of the Russia and Serbia between December 9 and 13. Only the first two of each of the four groups of this main round will advance to the quarter-finals from December 14, for a final scheduled on December 19.

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