18 European nations drawn in World Championship groups
On Thursday evening in Castelló, Spain, the draw for the preliminary round of the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship was conducted.
Olympic champions France were drawn in group A and will face two European teams – Montenegro and Slovenia – plus African champions Angola in December. France have beaten both Montenegro and Slovenia in preliminary round matches at the Women's EHF EURO 2018 and 2020.
While Netherlands, the defending world champions, will have to wait to find out which teams from Asia and North America and the Caribbean that they will meet in group D, they are guaranteed an intriguing encounter against Sweden. At the 2017 IHF Women's World Championship, the Netherlands beat Sweden by three goals in the bronze medal match.
Women's EHF EURO 2020 winners Norway are in a similar position to the Netherlands after the draw. Although two of Norway's group C opponents are to be confirmed, they will face Romania in a match that is certain to attract attention. When Norway faced Romania at the Women's EHF EURO 2020, they recorded a convincing eight-goal victory. However, when the sides met at the Women's EHF EURO 2018, Romania beat Norway by the same margin.
With four European nations drawn in group E, a challenging group awaits for Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Meanwhile, hosts Spain selected group H to play in at their home World Championship. Spain will meet one European nation in their chosen group: Austria.
Photo credit: Kolektiff images from the Women's EHF EURO 2020