Ice Hockey: Magnus League – Magnus League – WORLD: THE ELEVEN MAINTENANCE OF FRANCE

Since its arrival in the planetary elite, on the occasion of the World Championships in Prague in 1992 (just after the Winter Olympics in Albertville), the French senior men’s team has first managed the performance of remaining in the big leagues during nine years in a rowbefore being relegated during the Saint Petersburg tournament in 2000. The national coaches of the French during this first prosperous period were successively the Swedish Kjell Larsson, the Finnish Juhanni Tamminen, the Canadian Dany Dubé, the American Herb Brooks, the Swedish Mickael Lundström and Canadian Stéphane Sabourin.

After a period of reconstruction in the World Division 1 which lasted seven seasons (except for a short-lived one-year comeback in 2004), the Habs made their return to the top flight at the World Championships in Quebec in 2008. Having managed to settle once again among the best nations in the world under the direction of the new Canadian coach Dave Henderson, assisted by his assistant Pierre Pousse, our representatives broke their longevity record by remaining this time twelve years in a row in the world elite until the Kosice tournament in 2019. A competition where Dave Henderson, retired, was replaced by the French Philippe Bozon behind the bench.

On the occasion of the World Championships currently taking place in Helsinki and Tampere in Finland, here is a summary of the eleven holds successive successes by the French team between 2008 and 2018. This look back allows us to realize that the context of these maintenances was sometimes very different, with ups but also downs. This reminder makes it possible to remember the most significant events of these various world tournaments of the elite strong in emotions in which the French team took part.

Preliminary round: France ends fourth and last in Group A.
As a result, in the relegation group, France must face Italy three times and win two matches to hope to remain. The objective is within reach of the Blues but it starts badly because after the previous matches of this qualifying group, Teddy Trabichet and captain Laurent Meunier are injured and replaced by Mathieu Mille and Damien Raux. In the first match against Italy, the Blues were outshot, but our imperial goalkeeper Cristobal Huet kept France’s head above water. France won this match 3 to 2. The next day, the same story: Italian domination but a big performance from Cristobal Huet. Victory for France 6 to 4, the French therefore remain in Elite.

Final ranking: France 14e.

Preliminary round: France ends third out of four in Group B.
In the Bern ice rink, the French team first made Switzerland tremble at home, which narrowly won 1-0. But the Tricolores managed the performance of beating Germany in their last match of the preliminary round with the score of 2-1. Note that at the World Division 1 in 2006 Germany had swept France 5-0!
Then in the qualifying round of Group E, France finished sixth and last.

Final ranking: France 12e.

Preliminary round: France ends fourth out of four in group C.
Despite a good resistance, the France team narrowly lost against Sweden, the leader of this first round, with a score of 2-3. But in the next round of relegation the Habs avoided the descent thanks to a victory against Italy (2-1) then against Kazakhstan (5-3) two countries which descended to division 1. Fortunately the United States beat at the same time Italy if not France were relegated despite their two victories.

Final ranking: France 14e.

Preliminary round: France ends third out of four in Group B.
After conceding a more than honorable defeat against Switzerland (0-1 after extra time), the France team manages to get out of it by winning its last match against Belarus on the score again very tight but finally positive (2-1 after extra time). But in the qualifying round of group F in Kosice France finished sixth and last in the table.

Final ranking: France 12e.

The triple success of France

Preliminary round: in a new system of two hens of eight which changed everything in terms of match management, France finished fifth in group A.
In this World Cup, where the Blues distinguished themselves, the French team was not content to escape from last place in its group since the Tricolores succeeded in successively beating Kazakhstan (6-3), Switzerland ( 4-2) and Belarus (2-1). Moreover, our representatives narrowly lost to Slovakia (4-5). A great performance since Slovakia, which stole the fourth qualifying place from France, had trembled in front of the Habs, but the latter then won the silver medal after losing only in the final of this world against Russia!

Final ranking: France 9e.


France defeats Russia!

Preliminary round: France ends seventh out of eight in Group B.
After a first success against Austria (3-1) which assured them of avoiding relegation, the French team succeeded above all in a resounding coup by beating for the first time the Russia on the score of 2-1 thanks to two goals scored by Damien Fleury then Antoine Roussel. Our representatives also made Germany tremble dangerously, winning against France only after extra time (3-2). Unlike the previous year in the same Finnish city, the French team, after this exploit against Russia (champion in title and undefeated for 13 matches) our representatives were visibly destabilized to be able to qualify.

Final ranking: France 13e.


France beats Canada then goes to the quarter-finals!

Preliminary round: France ends fourth out of eight in Group A.
A year after having achieved the resounding feat of beating Russia at the Elite World Cup, the France team once again surprised all observers by beating the Canada after a memorable showdown on penalties (3-2). After two goals from Stéphane Da Costa, it was Pierre-Edouard Bellemare who completed the crime of lèse-majesté by scoring the decisive point during penalties. But the next day France disappoints and loses against newly promoted Italy (1-2).
A time destabilized by this failure, the France team pull themselves together by beating for the first time Slovakia (5-3) then Norway after the penalties (5-4) and again Denmark (6-2) which sends us in the quarter-finals, before losing narrowly in extra time against the Czech Republic in the last match (4-5). France however led 3-0 before being brought up!
Qualified for the quarter-finals, the Habs were eliminated by revengeful Russians who had not forgotten their previous failure with the score of 3-0. This World Cup therefore allowed our representatives to move up five places in the standings! Note that Antoine Roussel was elected to the tournament’s all-star team.

Final ranking: France 8e
(like during the 1995 World Cup in Stockholm).


France maintains its position by beating its two rivals

Preliminary round: France ends sixth out of eight in Group A.
The France team ensured its maintenance in the world elite by beating Austria (2-0) then above all Latvia, which the Habs had never beaten before, after penalties (3-2). An absolutely obligatory victory with enormous pressure to avoid relegation. But it should also be noted that our representatives made the Canadians tremble once again, future world champions, who imposed themselves not without difficulty (4-3). This result for France is all the more remarkable as Canada then impressed the spectators by sweeping Belarus in the quarter-finals (9-0), dismissing the Czech Republic in the semi-finals (2-0) and then winning the medal by a wide margin. gold in the final against Russia (6-1).

Final ranking: France 12e.


France beats Germany!

Preliminary round: France ends seventh out of eight in Group B.
The French team started the tournament well by beating Germany after penalties (3-2) while the latter went to the quarter-finals! French hockey players will also get a good result by winning well ahead of Hungary (6-2), two successes that will allow them to escape relegation. Note that for the first time, Pierre Pousse, the faithful assistant of Dave Henderson, seriously injured, was temporarily replaced by Stéphane Barin.

Final ranking: France 14e.


France beats Finland!

Preliminary round: France ends fifth out of eight in Group B.
Having every intention of shining in Paris in front of their supporters and the media, the France team just missed out on their first confrontation against Norway, who won (3-2). But the Habs make up for it by achieving the feat of beating the Finland on the final score of 5-1! Then our representatives, galvanized by the public, beat the Swiss at the end of an unbearable showdown which ended after penalties and the liberating goal from Stéphane Da Costa (4-3).
After a very good resistance against Canada, the big headliner of the Parisian tournament (2-3 defeat), the French team manages to snatch a new victory with forceps against Belarus (4-3 after penalties) then won as well against Slovenia (4-1). Unfortunately, it was Finland, despite being a victim of France, who qualified by one point for the quarter-finals and then the semi-finals, stopped at this stage by Sweden, the future world champion.
Small consolation, France climbs five places in the standings.

Final ranking: France 9e.


France maintains its position by beating its two rivals

Preliminary round: France ends sixth out of eight in Group A.
As three years earlier in Prague, the French team ensured its maintenance in the world elite by beating this time Belarus (6-2) then Austria (5-2). But his duels against the big nations were this time more difficult with large defeats against Russia at the start of the tournament (7-0), then against Sweden, future world champion (4-0), the Czech Republic (6 -0) and Switzerland (5-1). In other words, the France team provided the bare minimum in this tournament.
Note that it was during these world championships that the name of Philippe Bozon was unveiled to the press as Dave Henderson’s successor.

Final ranking: France 12e.


1989: France beats the Swiss in Oslo 5-2

1995: France defeats the Canada at Gavle 4-1*

1998: France defeats the UNITED STATES in Zürich 3-1

2009: France beats theGermany in Bern 2-1

2013: France beats the Russia in Helsinki 2-1

2014 : France beats the Slovakia in Minsk 5-3

2015 : France beats the Latvia in Prague

2017: France beats the Finland in Paris 5-1

* France managed to beat the Canada (3-2) in Minsk in 2014.
* France has never beaten the Sweden and the Czech Republic at the World Championships.

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