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Date: 1/10/2018
 

The biggest continental event on the handball calendar, the Men’s EHF EURO 2018, is set for throw-off in Croatia on January 12. 16 teams from across Europe have reached the final tournament, for which qualification began way back in October 2014 with Phase 1, followed by the main Phase 2 qualification rounds completed in June 2017. The event in Croatia will run from January 12 to 28, with matches taking place in four host cities – Split, Porec, Zagreb and Varazdin.

 

Hosts Croatia will begin their campaign in Group A, playing Sweden, Serbia and Iceland in Split. The home team enter the EHF EURO 2018 as bronze medallists at the previous event, and hope to finally claim the European title after winning bronze three times (1994, 2012 and 2016) and silver twice (2008 and 2010). Croatia have not missed the medal round at the EHF EURO since 2002, and fought for bronze at the most recent major international competition, the 25th IHF Men’s World Championship in France in January 2017.

 

Two of the main contenders for the trophy, 2017 World Championship finalists France and Norway, will play from preliminary Group B in Porec, where they will meet Belarus and Austria. Norway ranked a historic fourth at the EHF EURO 2016, and followed that with the celebration of their first ever major international medal when they placed second at the France 2017 World Championship. The current world champions and Olympic silver medallists, France, have won gold at the EHF EURO on three occasions, in 2006, 2010 and 2014, and will hope to improve on their 2016 result of fifth.

 

The 2016 champions, Germany, will begin the defence of their title in Zagreb. In Group C, Germany will come up against 2017 World Championship bronze medallists Slovenia, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro. Germany’s victory in 2016 was their second ever trophy at the event, after they claimed gold when they beat hosts Slovenia in the EHF EURO 2004 title match. For Slovenia, a medal in Croatia would be their third major international success, following the silver in 2004 and the France 2017 bronze.

 

In Group D, playing in Varazdin, 2013 world champions and EHF EURO 2016 silver medallists Spain will take on 2016 Olympic champions Denmark, Czech Republic and Hungary.

 

From each preliminary group of four, the top three teams will progress to the main round, to be played in two groups in Varazdin and Zagreb. The top two sides in each main round group will then contest the semi-finals in Zagreb.

 

In addition to determining the continental title, the EHF EURO 2018 offers the opportunity for one team to book their place at the 2019 IHF Men’s World Championship in Germany and Denmark, which will see them skip the rigorous qualification stage.

 

More information on the EHF EURO 2018 can be found on the official website.

 

Photo: EHF

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