This week, the French team*, runners-up in the previous World Championship and reigning Olympic champions, is entering the World Women's Handball Championship in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), a competition that will provide a foretaste of Paris 2024 after the French team’s lackluster performance in last year's European championship.
The huge challenge facing Krumbholz
Every match counts from now on. And it all makes sense: in Paris 2024, the French women's handball team, led by Olivier Krumbholz, will be defending its Olympic title, a particularly difficult situation for a coach. Having taken his players to the highest level, his task will be to keep them there while all the teams in the world will be doing their very best to knock them off their pedestal!
The advantage for Les Bleues is that the competition will be held at home, in France. The inevitable drop in motivation following the Olympic title in 2021 will be offset by the heightened enthusiasm inherent in an event – and what an event! – played on home soil in front of French fans.
But the task will be tough. The upcoming World Cup is a key milestone in the build-up to the Olympic Games Paris 2024, making it much more than just a simple competition. While no victory is to be sniffed at, the rendezvous in Paris is what really counts. The French, however, will not be the favorites in these championships, especially after coming in 4th position in last year's Euro. The team most favored to win is the Norwegians, the reigning European and world champions, all the most so as they will be playing a part of the World Championship at home. They are also very strongly placed for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Getting prepared but also leaving a strong impression on their opponents…
From November 29 to December 17, the French women’s team will be welcoming back their captain, Estelle Nze Minko, following her recovery from an injury. They’ll be starting the tournament in Norway, where they’ll be kicking off their group matches against Angola on November 30, before krmeeting Iceland (December 2) and Slovenia (December 4). The first three teams to qualify will go further north to Trondheim for the next stage in the competition.
The most important thing, therefore, will be to validate all their hard work done when preparing for the French Tournament, which they recently won brilliantly against Senegal and South Korea. Olivier Krumbholz and his staff have particularly focused on the attacking phases, on swiftly and securely moving the ball up the court, organizing well-placed attacks, etc. The national coach will also have to define a ranking system for the goalkeepers, considering that Cléopâtre Darleux is out of action due to injury. It will also be an opportunity for the French women to have a psychological impact on their opponents, especially the Norwegians, who have been brimming with confidence for several seasons now. It’s almost as if the Olympic Games Paris 2024 were starting this week...
* Caisse d'Epargne is a major partner of handball and of the sport’s French men and women's teams.