The biggest handball event of the year is just around the corner. The expectations are high, from the organizers as well as from the teams and the host team has a big pressure on their back…
French national team plays in group A, together with Poland, Russia, Brazil, Japan and Norway. Home court and crowd in Nantes will be a big plus for the team, which has 16 World Championships behind them. Les Experts won five World titles, three European and are two-time Olympic champs. The math is simple: they are on the road to the 6th World Championship title.
Poland, on the other hand has had a few setbacks in 2016. They were eliminated in EHF Euro quarterfinals by Croatia in front of the full Tauron Arena in Krakow and at the Olympic Games in Rio in summer they lost against Germany in the match for the bronze medal. However, Polish team has a great team roster and surely will give their best and make it up to their fans.
Russian handball history remembers the golden 90’ when the Russian team won two WCh titles, one ECh title and the Olympic games. The team list has changed a lot since then, but they are still a hot water and can be dangerous for everyone. Dibirov, Shishkarev and Chipurin are just some of the Russian aces that can do big things!
Brazil will start the Championship as none of the other teams in group A. They have the most difficult task in the World: opening match against the host France. Selecao has changed the head coach just a few months before the start of the WCh – Jordi Ribera left to be the new Spanish coach. Washington Nunes will lead the Brazilians in Spain and maybe we can expect a surprise.
The Japanese were absent from 2013 until 2015 at the World Championships and are now returning to the world stage. This will be Masanori Iwatomo last big tournament. At the end of the season, Dagur Sigurdsson will take over the team and prepare them for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Wild card for the WCh went to Norway, which is the 6th team in group A. A lot can be said about this handball country. They had a lot of ups and downs in 2016: won Croatia and France at the EHF Euro in Poland, lost against Germany in semi-final match with only one goal difference, lost against Slovenia in qualification matches. It’s their 2nd chance and Christian Berge surely has a recipe for all the opponents.
Group A – Nantes: