With a skilled generation of players nicknamed ‘Les Experts’, the France national team is considered one of the most talented in handball history. In 2017, France became the first nation to win six world titles (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017), adding to their three EHF EURO trophies (2006, 2010 and 2014) and two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012).
Along with their trophies, France have also claimed silver medals at the 2016 Olympic Games and the World Championship 1993, as well as bronze at the 1992 Olympics, the World Championships 1997, 2003 and 2005, and the EHF EURO 2008. They are the first and so-far only men’s team to have held all three major international titles at once.
Driven by coaching duo Didier Dinart and Guillaume Gille, the defending world champions are led by Cedric Sorhaindo as captain and current World Handball Player of the Year Nikola Karabatic.
Young players such as Nedim Remili and Ludovic Fabregas have shown they have the potential to become world-class athletes and help the team renew itself following the retirement of long-time, key stalwarts Thierry Omeyer and Daniel Narcisse. Both Remili and Fabregas played an important role in France’s World Championship 2017 trophy win.
Recent Team News
20 January: Left back Romain Lagarde (6 internationals/2 goals) replaces Timothey N'Guessan.
20 January: Line player Luka Karabatic (73 internationals/2 goals) replaces Benjamin Afgour.
28 January: Line player Benjamin Afgour (11 internationals/17 goals) replaces Dika Mem.
As three-time recipient of the World Handball Player of the Year award, in 2007, 2014 and 2016, Nikola Karabatic is regarded as one of, if not the, best player in French history. With an incredible total of 52 titles and multiple individual recognitions, he is perhaps the most recognisable handball player in the world.
Karabatic’s list of achievements includes three Olympic gold medals, four world titles and three EHF EURO trophies. He has also won the VELUX EHF Champions League three times, with Montpellier in 2003, THW Kiel in 2007 and FC Barcelona in 2015. Karabatic currently plays for PSG Handball, who reached the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2015/16 and 2016/17 after he joined.
Playing at left back or centre back, Karabatic is a proven goal machine and team player. He is also a strong defender, especially when playing alongside his younger brother Luka and team captain Cedric Sorhaindo.
A member of the powerhouse FC Barcelona squad, Martinique-born Cedric Sorhaindo is one of the best line players in the world. His cooperation with Nikola Karabatic was a cause for panic in any opponents’ defence until ‘Niko’ moved to Paris.
Mentored by Dinart, Sorhaindo adapts his game to the requirements of solid defence with great self-sacrifice. Sorhaindo has long been an indispensable member of the team that has claimed four world titles since 2009. He also counts the 2012 Olympic gold, and EHF EURO 2010 and 2014 trophies in his record.
With Barcelona, Sorhaindo has won two Champions League titles (2010/11 and 2014/15) and made it to the FINAL4 an additional three times. Following the international retirement of Thierry Omeyer and Daniel Narcisse in the spring of 2017, he was inducted as captain of the France team.
After finishing a decorated playing career in 2013, Didier Dinart switched immediately to France national squad staff, where he became assistant to head coach Claude Onesta. EHF EURO 2014 and World Championship 2015 titles followed, making Dinart the first member of Les Experts to succeed in retraining to the level of his incredible track record as a player.
Together with his former teammate Guillaume Gille, Dinart took the reins of the France national team after the 2016 Olympic Games. The duo claimed the world title on home soil in Paris in January 2017, in what was their first major tournament leading the team.
As a trademark specialist defender, Dinart earned the nickname ‘The Rock’ during his days playing in Spain for Ciudad Real. With strong ties to his roots from Guadeloupe, Dinart organises an annual international event in the Antilles to facilitate youth access to high-performance sport.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events