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10.08.2016, 09:10
Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 brings top handball to Croatia
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PREVIEW: 16 teams vie for glory at the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 in Croatia from 11 to 21 August
 

Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 brings top handball to Croatia

16 teams take to the court at the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 in Croatia from 11 to 21 August.

For all of them it is the first major outing on the international handball scene, for the European Handball Federation it is the first tournament that will be played since a new system for the younger age categories was introduced.

This means that at the end of the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 the three lowest ranked teams will be downgraded to the Men's 20 EHF Championships 2018, while the three winners of the Men's 18 EHF Championships in Georgia, Lithuania and Bulgaria (all 15 to 21 August) will be promoted to the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018.

Furthermore, the 11 best ranked teams at the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 will qualify directly for the Youth World Championship 2017, and the best 13 teams have their place secured at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018.

Predicting the eventual outcome of the upcoming championship is arguably difficult - even for those directly involved.

“We are ready to compete on a high level, but we don’t have many references beyond some friendly games,” says Spanish head coach Alberto Suárez. His team was drawn to Group A alongside France, Norway and Switzerland.

“We know nothing about the other teams in our group, but that is normal, when you attend the first championships with these young guys. The conditions are pretty much the same for all teams. We will simply have to focus on our own qualities and skills," says Sweden's coach Jerry Hallbäck. Sweden are in Group C together with Croatia, Czech Republic and Iceland.

And Germany's coach Jochen Beppler adds: “Locking horns with the best European teams is a great challenge for us. Little things and the daily form will decide. I expect the top teams to be very close, hence setting a goal is difficult." Germany were drawn to Group D together with Serbia, Portugal and Poland.

Group B consists of Denmark, Slovenia, Russia and Slovakia.

Photo: France celebrates victory at the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2014 in Poland

56 matches - all broadcast live

What is clear though is the tournament format, and that all 56 matches will be broadcast live on the Croatian federation's Youtube channel.

The first two teams of each group qualify for the main round with a chance to reach the semi-finals; the teams ranked third and fourth in each group will play the intermediate round and eventually the placement matches for ranks 9 to 16.

The preliminary round is played on 11, 12 and 14 August. Matchdays for the main round are 16 and 17 August. The semi-finals are played on 19 August, the final will take place on 21 August.

In the preliminary round matches throw off at 13:00, 15:00, 17:00 and 19:00 hrs local time for Groups A and B in Zagreb. Groups C and D play at 13:30, 15:30, 17:30 and 19:30 hrs local time in Koprivnica.

For more information also see the event's official website.

In the history of Men's 18 EHF EURO events since 1992, Croatia and Germany are the two most successful nations. They both have won two gold and one silver medal.

In this ranking Spain are third with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

At the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2014 in Poland, France came first ahead of Hungary and Spain.


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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