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Monday, 31 January 2011

France retain men's handball World Championship

France's men's handball team proved once again they're the best in the world after beating Denmark 37-35 in extra time in the final of the World Championships in Malmö, Sweden on Sunday.

Les Experts celebrate winning the men's handball World Championships (screenshot from YouTube video)

And congratulations for "Les Experts" as they're nicknamed have been coming in thick and fast as they, in the words of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, "Distinguished themselves throughout the championship, for their ability to stand with confidence, conviction and talent against formidable opponents."

Sarkozy will get the chance to heap even more praise on trainer Claude Onesta's men when he welcomes them to the Elysée palace on Monday afternoon

It's a far cry indeed from those dark sporting days of last summer when the country's football team brought shame and disgrace on themselves (and others) during their dismal campaign in the World Cup finals in South Africa.

And that was surely not far from the mind of the sports minister, Chantal Jouanno, who earlier on Sunday had said that it would be "unacceptable" for players such as Patrice Evra and Franck Ribéry, to make a return to international football.

Commenting on the handball team's performance in Malmö, Jouanno said, "They were magnificent. There is no secret; it's all about training, team spirit and the will to win. They weren't taking part to finish second!"

Qualities which few would surely deny were missing from Raymond Domenech's team in South Africa.

After his tears of frustration last week over France losing out to Qatar to host the 2015 World Championships, the president of Fédération française de handball (French handball federation, FFHB) Joël Delplanque, once again had watery eyes, but this time around they were, as he told RTL national radio, happy ones.

"I kept a supply of tears but this time they're of joy and they're ones that are welcome after the wonderful performance the French team put up against Denmark," he said.

"Experience made the difference and it was extraordinary for television viewers and spectators at the game to see how deep the players had to dig into their reserves and the guts they showed to win the game."

A win which Onesta admitted had been "one of the most difficult of his career" with the icing on the cake being direct qualification for next year's Olympics in London and the 2013 World Championships in Spain.

Sunday's win confirms the French team's status as the best in the world. They have now won the World Championship four times (1995, 2001, 2009 and 2011) and are the current Olympic and European champions.


Anonymous said...

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee are the champions my friend, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee are the champions!

Anonymous said...


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