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Date: 6/11/2017

The 2nd IHF Men’s Emerging Nations Championship begins tomorrow in Bulgaria, with 16 nations competing for the title. All participating countries are from Europe, with the exception of China, who were awarded a wild card entry.
The competition begins with the preliminary round with four groups of four teams, from which the top two sides proceed to the quarter-finals and the knock-out stage starts.
The first Emerging Nations Championship was held in 2015 in Kosovo, with Faroe Islands defeating Latvia 27:24 to raise the trophy, while Kosovo beat Uruguay 28:16 in the bronze-medal match.
“The Faroe Islands won the competition in 2015, which was an under 30 competition. The competition this year is an under 24 competition and this changes our team a lot,” says President of the Faroese Handball Federation, Ari Rouch.
“We believe that the competition will be stronger this year as the non-qualifiers from the EURO 20 Qualification Phase 1 will also play in the tournament.”
As hosts of the Emerging Nations Championship, Bulgaria qualified automatically, and were joined by eight teams that did not contest EHF EURO 2018 Qualification Phase 1 and six teams that did not make it past that stage.
For the nine teams that did not participate in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification – Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Ireland, Moldova and Malta – the Emerging Nations event marks their first attempt at qualification for the EHF EURO 2020.
Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Kosovo, Luxembourg and Turkey all participated in EHF EURO 2018 Qualification Phase 1, but as only the top-ranked nation from each playing group progressed to the play-offs on the path to Phase 2, exited the competition after those matches.
The three top-ranked sides from Europe at the Emerging Nations Championship will qualify directly for EHF EURO 2020 Qualification Phase 2 on the road to the biggest ever men’s continental championship, where the number of teams vying for the title will increase to 24 for the first time.