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World Championship

EURO semi-finalists Slovenia in regional derby on path to Egypt

EHF / cg

EURO semi-finalists Slovenia in regional derby on path to Egypt

20 national teams learned their opponents for Qualification Phase 2 Part 2 on the path to the IHF Men’s World Championship 2021 when the draw was held in the Hilton Hotel in Vienna on Monday night. The Phase 2 play-offs will take place from 5 to 11 June, with the aggregate winner of each two-leg tie qualifying for Egypt.

10 places at the World Championship remain for Europe, and those berths will be decided over two phases of play-offs scheduled for mid-April and early June. With the draw for Phase 2 Part 1 completed in January, the pairings for Phase 2 Part 2 were drawn on Monday. 

Serbia will face one of the toughest tasks, as they were drawn against Slovenia, the only semi-finalists from the EHF EURO 2020 not directly qualified for Egypt 2021. 

The fifth-ranked team from the EURO 2020, Germany, played for the medals at the previous World Championship, ultimately finishing fourth. In their attempt to copy that achievement, Germany will play Ukraine on the path to the global event. 

At the 2019 World Championship, Germany lost the bronze-medal match to the record world title holders France. After France qualified for the two most recent editions of the World Championship as the defending champions, they are back in the qualification play-offs, and are set to meet North Macedonia in the Phase 2 clashes. 

Portugal, Sweden, Hungary and Belarus have arguably the easiest tasks, as they will meet the winners progressing from Phase 2 Part 1. The sixth-placed team from the EURO 2020, Portugal, will play the winner of the Israel versus Latvia pairing. 

16 of the teams that will contest Phase 2 Part 2 competed at the EHF EURO 2020, while the remaining four will arrive from Part 1 of the play-offs. Those Part 1 play-offs are to be contested between the four lowest-ranked sides from the EURO 2020 and the winners from Qualification Phase 1.  

The 10 teams ranked highest at the EURO were drawn from pot 1, while the next six from the EURO as well as the opponents arriving from Part 1 were drawn from pot 2. 

The IHF Men’s World Championship 2021 will be held from 15 to 31 January, 2021. It will be the first edition of the event played under the expanded format, with 32 teams, one year after the first EURO with 24 teams.

As the top three teams at the Men’s EHF EURO 2020, Spain, Croatia and Norway are directly qualified for the 2021 World Championship in Egypt. As defending world champions, Denmark are also directly qualified for the event next January. 

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