French defending world champion title at home field
The world’s best handball players are back on scene on January 11th since 25th World Championship is starting in France. Handball is probably the only sport in which European Championship is better and with more quality than World Championship, considering that in these world reviews there are still some selections that are literally passers and those selections will achieve nothing except for certainly very convincing defeats. On the other hand, Europeans are going to dominate and we should seek for a final champion exactly among these selections. Some very high quality national teams from the “Old continent” did not even get a placement at this championship, but majority of candidates for the title are here and for sure there is going to be some big fight. The championship will be played until January 29th, 24 selections are attending, that are divided in four groups. The best four selections from each group are going to the eight finals and right here starts the KO stage.
„The Experts“ are saying goodbye to their legends with new trophy
Of course, France stands out as the first favourite here, and for a few reasons. They are hosts and that is always a huge advantage for all selections, as seen on many previous big championships, but that is not the only reason why Frenchmen are the biggest favourites. This selection dominates for years already and they are actual champions and Olympic vice champions, which only means that they are not invincible, however, they are great selection full of excellent individuals and this championship is also going to be a farewell for some of their players who won it all with national team. It is not a wonder that their nickname is „The Experts “, when they have already won as many big trophies, and they now want another one in front home audience. One of today’s best handball players Nikola Karabatic is going to lead them, and there is of course unbreakable goalkeeper Omeyer, who is finally saying goodbye, same as Narcisse.
Denmark wants to repeat Rio, and Germany last year’s European Championship
As for the other favourites, there is of course Denmark selection, who managed to win Olympic gold last summer after final victory over France exactly. They will be led by left back „bomber“ Mikel Hansen. Of course, we should not forget about Germany’s national team, actual European champion and a selection that is finally back on the big scene and for sure they now want to add a world title to their European and they do have a quality for something like that, although, they are not going to be in same composition as they were at the beginning of last year when they won gold in Poland after winning over Spain. The biggest strength for Germans is their collective but we will still single out left wing Gensheimer as initial striker for this selection. Spain is another one of potential favourites for winning the title, although it seems like this selection does not have such a quality team anymore and that the change of the generations might cost them somewhat lower rank but they should not be completely written off for they might seek a good result with good defence. Traditionally, there is also Croatia, although for this selection as well it might be said that they are in a fall and in last big competitions they did not achieve nothing concretely. They hope they can achieve something in France, and they sure could, but they could also fail a big. A lot will depend on what kind of mood Domagoj Duvnjak is going to be, the best player of the Croatian national team.
European middle class is looking for a surprise
There are also some “middle class” selections at this competition, to be exact, some selections that might surprise us and they do have some good individuals, but there is also still a lot of things that need to be coincide so that any of them might eventually become champions or even to get to the semi-finals or finals. The rest of the Scandinavian selections are in this group, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, although Swedish selection seems like they fail to restore the old glory days. Norwegians surprise sometimes, while Iceland fail more often. Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are also selections that also have quality and might mess with the favourites, same as Russian selection might do, while other European selections, Macedonian and Belarus do not have enough quality after all, not even enough for us to give them a role of some protentional surprise.
Actual world vice champion Qatar is leading Non-European selections
You noticed already that we haven’t mentioned not one selection from any other continent and this is maybe unfair to actual world vice champion Qatar, however, this selection was a big surprise two years ago, and it was mostly because of the fact that they were playing at the home field, while already the Olympic tournament showed that eventually some quarterfinals is much realistic achievement for them rather than seeing them again in the fight for the throne. From Asia, there are Japan, Bahrein and Saudi Arabia, selection that will not be able to achieve anything. When it comes to the selections from Africa, selection from Tunisia is one to pay attention to and they might even make something big, but they can hardly get to the very finish. Egypt is solid, while Angola is among outsiders. In the end, we have South American selections left and here are Brazil and Argentina that should not be underestimated, as they are selections that might cause a lot of trouble even to those best ones, but of course, they cannot play good continuously, which is something you need to at the big competitions if you’re looking for a top result. One of the weakest selections at this championship is Chile and they should be lucky if they manage to record at least one victory.