FranceCoach: Olivier De Lafuente
Only Denmark and the Republic of Korea have managed to qualify for every edition of the IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship alongside France, but “Les Bleuettes” are the only side from those that have taken the court every time and still miss out on a medal. They came agonisingly close in 2006, 2008 and 2010, when they finished fourth each time, but their last tournaments have been somewhat of a hit and miss, as they finished 10th in the last edition, in 2018.
Memories of North Macedonia are not the best, with France securing their worst-ever result in the competition eight years ago, the 16th place, while the W17 EHF EURO 2021 resulted in finishing 11th – enough to qualify for North Macedonia 2022, but failing to put up a strong resistance one year ago.
Recent results have been good, as they claimed two wins against Croatia, 31:23 and 28:24, in two friendly away matches, but France will face tough tests even in the preliminary group, where they meet Hungary, Argentina and Spain. A strong outing here will mean that they will certainly be fighting for a place in the top 10, but a medal might still be out of reach.
Key players: Emma Tuccella (right wing), Nina Perret (centre back), Salome Pourchez (right back)
Qualification for North Macedonia 2022: W17 EHF EURO 2021 – 11th
History in tournament: 2006: 4th, 2008: 4th, 2010: 4th, 2012: 7th, 2014: 16th, 2016: 6th, 2018: 10th
Group at North Macedonia 2022: Group H (Hungary, France, Argentina, Spain)