The Men's Junior World Championships throw off in Brazil this Sunday, with half of the teams and the majority of medal contenders at the 24-nation event coming from Europe
Twelve European teams cross the Atlantic to vie for gold in Brazil
The Brazilian cities of Uberlândia and Uberaba in Brazil's south-east will be in the focus of world handball for the next two weeks when the 20th edition of the Men's Junior World Championship takes place from 19 July to 1 August.
Exactly one half of the 24 teams vying for gold in Brazil stem from Europe, and it is likely that the medal matches will once again be a European affair, just like two years ago at the Junior World Championship in Bosnia-Herzegovina when Sweden topped the podium ahead of Spain and France.
Travelling to Brazil as firm medal contenders are certainly current Men's 20 European champions Germany, Sweden and Spain, the silver and bronze medallists at last year's Men's 20 EHF EURO as well as Denmark, the current youth world champions and fourth-placed team at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2014 in Austria.
"At the past four tournaments we have always been in the mix until the very end, and that's what we want to achieve in Brazil as well," says Germany's coach Markus Baur on dhb.de.
"At the moment it looks as if a place in the semi-final is a reasonable goal," says Denmark's sports director and former national team head coach Ulrik Wilbek. "But in the light of team's potential and the many unpredictable factors that come into play in a tournament's knockout round, it is hard to say how it will end."
Denmark are in Group C together with France, Argentina, Chile, Korea and Algeria, while Germany face hosts Brazil, Egypt, Norway, Uruguay and Japan in Group D.
In Group A Sweden play against Russia, Netherlands, Tunisia, Belarus and Paraguay, while Spain meet Romania, Serbia, Qatar, Angola and Portugal in Group B.
The first four team of each group qualify for the Last 16.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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