EURO 2014: Focus on, France

National team of France

Frankrike_LMS_2013_650

Journey:

France had the advantage of being in the easiest, Group 3 of the qualification phase 2, where they dominated Norway, Turkey and Lithuania. Spain and France had the maximum points in their groups. France as a winner in Group 3 was classified in pot 2 and from there assigned to Group C with Serbia, Poland and Russia. France was 11th in the last EURO 2012 in Serbia, but won the Olympic Games title later that year. They are one of the contenders for the title in Denmark.

Key Player(s):


le-telephone-de-nikola-karabatic-remet-en29 years old, Nikola Karabatić is a French handball player. With the French national handball team, he won two gold medals in Summer Olympics (2008 and 2012), two gold medals in World Championship (2009 and 2011) and also two gold medals in European Championship (2006 and 2010). In 2011, he won L’Équipe Champion of Champions.

Karabatić began his professional carrier in French top club Montpellier HB. There, he became French champion in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and also won the Champions League in 2003. He then played for the German club THW Kiel, becoming German champions in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and winning the EHF Champions League in 2007. The summer 2009 he left Germany and came back to Montpellier HB, winning three other French champion title in 2010, 2011 and 2012. After a quick stay in Pays d’Aix Université Club handball (Aix-en-Provence) between February and June 2013, he signed with his current team, FC Barcelona.

Strengths:

One of the best, agile and highly aggressive defenses in this tournament.  If the referees allow the roughness, France is unbeatable. Their star back line Narcisse-Karabatic-Fernandez and great and fast attack play led by Karabatic, who gained his form since 2012, will be the key element in their placement in this tournament.

Weaknesses:

Their key player in defense Thierry Omeyer, will miss the first stage because of an injury and the veteran  Jérôme Fernandez is not in greatest shape. Their right back position has less quality than the rest of the court coverage. Sorhaindo is one of the greatest defense players but they will definitely miss a player like Didier Dinart  who retired after the Olympic games in 2012.