12 March 2015
The World Championship in Qatar was marked by the performance of the French team. The Experts became world champions and, in the process, left their mark on the history of their sport.
Adding a fifth star to their jerseys: only the French team has managed such an incredible performance in the entire history of handball. In the exclusive club of five-time world champions in team sports, France has now joined the United States, for basketball, and Brazil, for football. As for handball itself, the Blues leave behind Sweden and Romania, the two countries holding four world titles.
The French team owes this latest achievement in its unique record to a very solid match against Qatar, the organizing nation of the World Championship, and the first non-European team to reach a world final. However, despite the strength of their opponents, the Experts triumphed on February 1st, 2015, in the Lusail Sports Arena.
Before their victory though, the team had to work to reach the final match, first during the preliminary phase, during which the French remained undefeated despite the scare of their tie against Iceland, then, during the eights and quarter finals, in which neither Argentine nor Slovenia were able to do anything against the Blues, who were both powerful and completely focused on their goal. This goal of claiming the world title in front of 15,000 spectators could have been prevented by Spain, the defending world champions. However, Les Experts completely controlled the semi final which, on paper, looked like the most uncertain match of the competition for them. The doors of the final then opened…
The title match was won only 25 to 22 by “Les Bleus” against the surprising Qataris. Valentin Porte and Daniel Narcisse distinguished themselves by each scoring four goals, but the highest French scorer of the final was Nikola Karabatic (5 goals), who was then elected best center-half of the competition. Another key player was Thierry Omeyer, who gave a phenomenal performance in the goal during the whole length of the Championship, and who was finally named best goalkeeper and best player of the World Championship.
The triple crown is thus back in France, since Les Bleus hold the Olympic title, the European title, and the World title simultaneously. Only one team before them had succeeded in achieving this. This team? France in 2010…
If all world champions of 2015 are, by definition, outstanding players, two nonetheless draw our attention: Thierry Omeyer and Jérôme Fernandez. Their victory in Qatar has secured their place in history, since it represents their fourth title as world champions. A record, of course!
In 2017, France will host a phenomenal sporting event, but it will also see a team just as extraordinary as the competition take up a crazy challenge: that of winning the World Championship for the sixth time.