PREVIEW: The 2019 IHF Men’s Youth (U19) World Championship takes place in Skopje, North Macedonia on 6-18 August
13 European teams in the hunt for under 19 title in Skopje
The 2019 IHF Men’s Youth (U19) World Championship appears to have been blown wide open as last year’s M18 EHF EURO champions Sweden will field a completely changed squad compared to a year ago.
13 European teams will compete for the world title in the Macedonian capital of Skopje, at the famous homes of handball – Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre and Jane Sandanski Arena, home of defending VELUX EHF Champions League winners HC Vardar, on 6-18 August.
After just missing out on a medal at the M18 EHF EURO last year, Croatia will be hoping to go one better and emulate their Under 21 side, which reached the world final last week in Spain.
Croatia are top seeds in Group A, leading a strong European contingent of Spain, Slovenia and Norway, alongside Chile and Saudi Arabia.
Despite the absence of Valter Chrintz, Ludvig Hallbäck and the rest of the M18 EHF EURO gold-winning squad, Sweden have looked strong in preparation and will feel they have a good chance in a group which features two more continental champions – Egypt and Canada. Also in Group B is France, Hungary and Chinese Taipei.
Hosts North Macedonia are in the most diverse group in the preliminary round. Group C features M18 EHF EURO bronze medallists Denmark, Asian finalists Bahrain and Japan, as well as Argentina and Nigeria.
The tightest group on paper appears to be Group D, headed by last year’s European silver medallists Iceland. They are joined by Germany, Serbia and Portugal from Europe, plus African silver medallists Tunisia and South and Central American champions Brazil.
The tournament follows a preliminary round then knockout phase format, with the top four teams in each group proceeding to the Last 16, while the remainder play placement matches to determine their final ranking. The knockout phase will begin on 14 August and the medal matches will be played on 18 August.
More information, including the live stream, latest news, statistics and live scores, will be available on the official IHF competition microsite.
TEXT: Chris O'Reilly
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