Charm of handball which organizes an international competition every year, even in Olympic years, they will have the opportunity to bounce back in 12 months, already, during the European championship in Germany (January 10-28).

Before defending their Olympic title, acquired in Tokyo in 2021, just over six months later in Paris.

"We talk a lot about the Olympics and we forget the Euro. Of course the Olympics will be a highlight at home. But we want to go get the Euro", underlined the half-center or right-back Nedim Remili .

Olympic gold medalist three times in the last four editions (silver in 2016 in Rio), the France team has not won another competition since the World Cup-2017 at home.

However, she took one more step in Poland and Sweden after having stumbled at the foot of the final during the World Cup-2021 and Euro-2022.

Blues player Nedim Remili (D) in the World Cup final against Denmark, January 29, 2023 in Stockholm © Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

"This team continues to grow," said Guillaume Gille.

Fickle Guardians

Promoted alone to the position of coach after the fiasco of Euro-2020 and the departure of Didier Dinart, Gille can rely on a stable and rather young group.

Only Vincent Gérard and the Karabatic brothers are 34 or older, and potential starters like Nedim Remili (27), Ludovic Fabregas (26), Dika Mem (25) or Yanis Lenne (26) are still young and perfectible.

Dylan Nahi (23) and especially Elohim Prandi (24) and Thibaud Briet (23) are in the process of understanding the international level.

Charles Bolzinger (22) discovers him in an always inconstant goalkeeper position, as shown in the final (7 out of 41 saves for Gérard and Desbonnet).

Guillaume Gille can also count on those absent from the World Cup, experienced (Descat, Nguessan) or less (Minne, Kounkoud, Villeminot).

The coach of the French handball team, Guillaume Gille, during the World Cup final against Denmark, January 29, 2023 in Stockholm © Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

Could the outcome have been different, precisely, against the Danes (29-34) with a workforce less handicapped by injuries?

Affected by seven packages before the start of the competition, the Blues have demonstrated their "adaptability and strength of character", according to their coach.

Infirmary full

However, she reached her limits in the final, disputed with a decimated left-back position.

To the packages before the World Cup of specialist Timothey Nguessan and versatile Aymeric Minne and Kyllian Villeminot were added that of Thibaud Briet, who injured his right hand when he fell on Nikola Karabatic's elbow before the quarter-final.

The latter was able to play barely 20 minutes against Denmark, handicapped as throughout the final phase by a left foot injury.

And Elohim Prandi left his partners before the end of the match, his body bruised (sprained left ankle against the Spaniards on January 22, right wrist injury in the semi-finals against Sweden).

Blues player Elohim Prandi (C), during the World Cup final against Denmark, January 29, 2023 in Stockholm © Jessica GOW / TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP

Only Romain Lagarde remained as a specialist in the left-back position at 100% of his capacity, lacking in confidence and playing time lately, even if he has made a rather good comeback.

Opposite, the Danes sent, on the same left-back position, Rasmus Lauge (10 goals) and Mads Mensah Larsen (2) to relay Simon Pytlick (9).

Between them, they scored nearly two-thirds of the goals of their team which, triple reigning world champion, still has a bright future ahead of it.

The Blues gave him an appointment next year, promising like Remili to come back "with the slab".

© 2023 AFP