The Women's World Championship throw off in Denmark on Saturday and only for the second time in almost 60 years the defending champions stem not from Europe
13 European teams out to claim back women's handball throne
Back two years ago, on 22 December 2013 in Belgrade, something remarkable happened in women's handball.
Brazil beat Serbia 22:20 and not only was this this first time the South American team became world champions, it was also only the second time - after Korea's victory in 1995 - that a non-European team topped the podium at a Women's World Championship.
At the upcoming 22nd edition of the tournament from 5 to 20 December in Denmark, 13 European teams (24 in total) are out to take back the throne that Brazil claimed two years ago.
Initially, there had been only 11 participants from Europe but Germany and Serbia, who had lost the play-offs against Russia and Romania respectively, eventually made the cut courtesy of an IHF wildcard.
The participating teams have been drawn to four groups of six teams each. The four host cities are Herning, Naestved, Kolding and Frederikshavn.
In Group A hosts Denmark face some truly tough opponents. They have been drawn together with EHF EURO 2012 champions Montenegro, EHF EURO 2012 bronze medallists Hungary and World Championship 2013 runners-up Serbia. Japan and Tunisia complete Group A.
In Group B EHF EURO 2016 hosts and 2014 bronze medallists Sweden are pitted against Netherlands and Poland; China, Angola and Cuba complete the group.
World champions Brazil are the first seeded team in Group C. On their quest for a successful title defence they face France, Argentina, Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Germany.
Group D will see the two EHF EURO 2014 finalists, Norway and Spain, already meeting at an early stage. Romania and Russia complete the European quartet, while Kazahkstan and Puerto Rico are teams 5 and 6 in this group.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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