PREVIEW: While the Men's EHF EURO 2016 is looming on the horizon, the battle is also on to stay in the race for the World Championship 2017 with the qualification starting this week
World Championship Qualification throws off across Europe
When the Men's World Championship 2017 Qualification starts on Wednesday, there is no shortage of big names despite the fact that many teams enter the race for the final tournament only in the play-offs next June.
Austria, participants at the EHF EURO 2014 and the World Championship 2015, have been drawn to Group 2 alongside Finland, Romania and Italy and face Romania in their first match on Wednesday.
"I hope for a great start with four points from the two games," says Austria's coach Patrekur Johannesson, as following the Romania-match Austria face Finland on Saturday.
"We have to wait and see how our younger players will cope with their new roles, but I think we are ready to give everything we have and I'm looking forward to this qualification.
"We have to at 100 per cent already in the first match because Romania will not just come for the sake of visiting us."
In Group 1 World Championship 2015 participants Bosnia-Herzegovina face Slovakia on Wednesday and Lithuania on Sunday; fellow World Championship participants Czech Republic have been drawn to Group 6.
They face Belgium in a double-header on Wednesday and Saturday. The third team in this group is Turkey.
Following Rounds 1 and 2, the remaining Rounds 3 to 6 will be played in the first and second week of January 2016 with the exception of Group 5, consisting of Portugal, Israel and Estonia.
Instead of home and away matches this group is played in a tournament format in Israel from 5 to 7 November.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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