The situation entering the EHF EURO could hardly be better for the hosts: France have the confidence of medals won at the three most recent major championships and even take the court as reigning world champions. The conditions appear ideal for France to add to their EHF EURO medal tally, which currently stands at three bronze (2002, 2006 and 2016).
The bronze medal won at the previous EURO in 2016 was one achievement in a big year for France. After a silver medal at the World Championship 2011, France struggled to break into the top positions, but everything changed when Olivier Krumbholz returned as coach in 2016. Krumbholz led France to the Olympic Games, where they won their first Olympic medal – silver – then on to bronze at the EURO. In December 2017, France won their second World Championship title after 2003.
France are built on a solid foundation of impermeable defence and fast offensive play, with a diverse squad of established stars and young talents who come together in perfect cohesion. France are eager to maintain their position among the leaders in women’s handball, starting with the EHF EURO 2018, where they aim to reach the final in Paris.
The leader of the team since 2013, captain and left wing Siraba Dembele has been a long and important presence for France. In 2018, she passed the milestone of 800 selections for the national team.
Dembele started playing handball at the age of 14, staying in France until 2012, when she was 26. She left for Randers HK in Denmark then moved to Vardar in FYR Macedonia, and finally on to Russia with Rostov-Don. For 2018/19, Dembele returned to one of her favourite clubs, Toulon Saint-Cyr in France.
Dembele was voted the EHF Champions League All-star left wing in 2014/15 and 2017/18, and All-star left wing of the World Championship 2017.
Amandine Leynaud is considered one of the best female goalkeepers in handball’s history. Called to play for the national team at only 19 years of age, Leynaud quickly secured her status as starting goalkeeper thanks to her numerous achievements in the French league with Metz Handball.
In 2012, Leynaud left France for Romania, where she stayed for one year until signing with Vardar for six years. With Vardar, Leynaud made it to the FINAL4 five years in a row and was named MVP of the event in 2017/18. For 2018/19, she transferred to defending Champions League title holders Györ.
With the national team, Leynaud has won three World Championship medals, the EURO bronze in 2016, and the Olympic silver. She was instrumental in France’s world title win in 2017.
The coach: Olivier Krumbholz
A former international player himself, Olivier Krumbholz ended his career on court in 1986, at only 28 years old, and became coach of the ASPTT Metz women’s team. Krumbholz would go on to lead Metz to four national titles between 1989 and 1995, laying the foundation for his successful international coaching career.
In 1998, Krumbholz took the reins of the France women’s national team for the first time. He has since led the squad to nine medals, including two World Championships titles 14 years apart (2003 and 2017). After a short break from coaching the national team between 2013 and 2016, he came back hungry for success and is now, more than ever, thrilled to compete and push his team to deliver their best – and of course hopes to win another medal in front of the home crowd.
Past Performance at EHF EURO events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||14th place|