For whatever reason, the French national team seems to have more success at the World Championships than at EHF EURO events; just note the two bronze EHF EURO medals compared to the three silver and one gold medal won at World Championships.
Nevertheless, the team is taking a renewed approach, with the final tournament in Hungary and Croatia being the next step. In June 2013 Alain Portes took over from Olivier Krumbholz at the team’s helm after Krumbholz had been in charge for 15 years. Portes inherited a team which is physically very strong and has a great back court scorers like Alexandra Lacrabere, brilliant game technicians like Allison Pineau also swift wings such as Siraba Dembele. With this mixture France had no problems qualifying for the Women's EHF EURO 2014.
Allison Pineau's talent for handball was recognized at an early stage of her life. She was barely 18 when she celebrated her debut in the French national team in 2007. Only a few months year later, in December 2007, she had become part of the squad that participated at the World Championship 2007. Being ‘only’ a substitute at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, her star truly began to shine when she was awarded best centre back at the World Championship 2009 in China.
Her understanding of the game has made Pineau on of the masterminds of the French team. On the club level she played for Issy les Moulineaux and Metz Handball in France until 2012. Following one season in Romania, where she played for Oltchim Valcea, she transferred to WHC Vardar SCBT in FYR Macedonia and reached the MVM EHF FINAL4 in May 2014.
It was in December 2009 at the World Championship in China that Siraba Dembele became a true member of the national team. Facing a loss againt Sweden in the group and hence a possible elimination, Dembele came into the game at half-time and her determination and will power lead France to a 23 : 21 win and eventually the silver medal some games later – a feat the team repeated two years later in Brazil.
Being France’s captain nowadays Dembele is known for explosive game in attack as well as for a rigorous defence, a combination which arguably puts her among the best wing players in the world. On the club level she currently plays, together with her teammate Allison Pineau, for WHC Vardar SCBT in FYR Macedonia.
THE COACHES - Alain Portes
When Alain Portes was a still a player, he was nicknamed ‘Beep-Beep’ because of his speed, a quality that saw him scoring more than 500 times in 216 matches and winning Olympic bronze in 1992. In 2009 he answered a call by the Tunisian Handball Federation and steered their men’s team to victory at the Africa Cup in 2012 and subsequently to the Olympic Games in London where Tunisia made it all the way to the quarter-final.
In June 2013 he accepted the French Handball Federation’s offer to succeed Olivier Krumbholz at the helm of the women’s national team. At his first major tournament he led the team to a 6th place at the World Championship 2013 in Serbia.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||14th place|