After 15 successful years on the bench of the French women’s national handball team, Olivier Krumbholz gave the steering wheel to former Tunisian national team coach Alain Portes in 2013. With Krumbholz on the bench, the French women’s handball lived its peak time: they won gold and silver medals at the world championship and two bronze medals at the EUROs. However, the Olympic medal is still missing for the French girls.
Since Alain Portes took over, France finished 6th and 7th at the world championships and 5th at the EURO 2014. In January 2016, Alain Portes was fired from the French bench and Olivier Krumbholz sat back on the bench. So he can try to complete his medal collection with an Olympic medal. They are quite balanced at the Olympics: in 2008 and 2012 they were 5th, in 2000 6th and they were only a heartbeat away from the medal in Athens in 2004: they finished 4th.
France is not always mentioned among the favorites for the gold medal, but they can give a tough time to every team in the competition. France doesn’t like to play matches with a lot of goals, they can usually rely on their strong defense and great goalkeepers. They prepared for the Olympic Games with a tournament in Norway alongside the hosts, Romania and Spain. They lost to Spain (17-21) and Norway (25-24) and defeated Romania (24-18).
The French squad can be seen HERE.
Absentees: Nina Kanto, Cleopatre Darleux (didn’t get selected)
Key players: Allison Pineau (playmaker), Alexandra Lacrabére (right back), Amandine Leynaud
Chances: France is not a team being mentioned among the top favorites for the gold medal, but with a little luck – and knowledge of course…, they can reach the top 4 and get their desired first Olympic medal. First they will need to survive the group matches against the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Sweden and Argentina, but it would be a surprise not to see France in the quarterfinals.