PREVIEW: When the European Championships throw off in Lloret this Tuesday, Croatia are once more one of the favourites in the men's event, while Hungary try to defend their women's title – and for all participants the World Championships' berths are at stake
Croatia out for their fourth title
European beach handball has arrived in the Spanish coastal town of Lloret de Mar, and the action will peak over the next six days when the European Beach Handball Championships take place from 30 June to 5 July.
Among the men's teams Croatia are once again one of the tournament's favourites. It is eight years ago that they did not win gold: They topped the podium at the 2009, 2011 and 2013 championships.
And even in 2007 they came second when Russia won the championship.
When it comes to the medals at Lloret 2015, Russia are arguably one of Croatia's strongest opponents, and hosts Spain will also try to land on the podium.
Making a return to the sand for the first time since 2007 is the German national team, as the federation registered teams for both events.
Hungary the favourites in the women's event
Debutant in the women's event is the national team of Montenegro. After the nation continues to impress indoors, it is now time for the women to show what they are capable of on the sand.
When it comes to the medal favourites, defending champions Hungary are certainly in the mix and so are Italy, Norway, Ukraine and Spain.
The men's teams have been seeded in two groups of six teams each, the women are seperated into two groups of seven.
The top four teams of each group proceed to main round which starts on Thursday, 2 July.
The main round matches are then important for the seedings in the quarter-finals on Saturday, as the first placed team of Group I faces the fourth ranked team of Group II (and vice versa) as well as the second ranked teams play against the third ranked teams.
World Championship places at stake
Not only in terms medals but also with regards to the World Championship 2016 in Budapest, are the semi-final an important step in this competition.
The top four teams in the final ranking in the women's as well as the top three teams from the men's event will directly qualify for the tournament next year.
Watch it live
All main court matches of the European Beach Handball Championships 2015 can be followed via a live stream. The stream can be followed at http://lloretbeachhandball.com/live-tv/. A live ticker will be available via http://ticker.ehf.eu.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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