French handball players carried away by the crowd of spectators!

Wednesday, 10 january 2024

The players coached by Guillaume Gille are beginning a European championship – and the last major event before the Olympic Games Paris 2024 – in an incredible atmosphere considering that they’ll be playing in front of a crowd of 55,000 spectators. The Caisse d’Epargne, a major partner of FFHandball, the French Handball Federation, will be sharing the public’s excitement through the different stages of the tournament.

In the country that gave the sport its name

Guillaume Gille’s team is undeniably facing a “kolossal” competition, the last major championship before the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where they’ll be playing to defend their title. The French handball players have emerged victorious from their preparatory matches and are heading for this final stage prior to their key rendezvous with themselves and a place in the annals of their sport. But this Euro handball championship is more than just a preparatory competition for Paris 2024! It’s special because it’s being held in Germany, the country where handball was first developed and where the sport is so immensely popular, and the country which gave it its name. That’s why the French pronunciation of “ball” in “handball” is similar to the German “bahl” (and not “bawl” as in English, which follows the pattern set by “football” or “basketball”). We can consequently expect this German Euro to be a very special European championship, attracting record numbers of spectators!

In a soccer stadium 

For the start of the competition, the French players will meet North Macedonia in Düsseldorf’s Merkur Spiel Arena, packed with 50,000 spectators who will subsequently be staying on to watch the following match: Germany-Switzerland. This will set an all-time record for the number of spectators at a handball match. Until now, the largest number of spectators watching the French team play was during the 2017 World Cup when 28,000 spectators filled the Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d’Ascq (near Lille, northeast France).

This will be an unprecedented experience for Guillaume Gille and his team, who will have to cope not only with their high-ranked opponents but also with the atmosphere in the stadium. European championships in this discipline are just as difficult – if not more so – than world championships. Since 1972, when seven-a-side handball officially became an Olympic sport, 38 of the 39 medals awarded have been won by European nations, with only South Korea taking silver in Seoul in 1988. So it’s a particularly fierce competition awaiting the French despite all the work they’ve done on their physical condition. They will nevertheless have to fine-tune their game over the first few matches in the light of their preparatory matches. But they’re sure to be among the favorites, along with the Danes, who remain on a run of three consecutive world championship titles, and the Germans, represented by more than just a team!

Schedule of matches for the national French team in the preliminary round:

  • France vs Macedonia, on the BEIN SPORTS channel, Wednesday, January 10 at 6:00pm
  • Switzerland vs France, on the BEIN SPORTS channel, Sunday, January 14 at 6.00pm
  • France vs Germany, on the BEIN SPORTS channel and on TFX (free-to-air), Tuesday, January 16 at 8:30pm/8:45 pm

Should France qualify for the Main and subsequent rounds, 4 further matches will be broadcast free-to-air on the Group’s channels TF1/TFX/TMC:

– Saturday, January 20 – Main Round (if France qualifies)
– Monday, January 22 or Wednesday, January 24 – Main Round (if France qualifies)
– Friday, January 26 – Semi-final (if France qualifies)
– Sunday, January 28 – Final (if France qualifies)