Greece are heading into their seventh IHF Men's Junior World Championship – and for the third time, they will host the competition, this time together with Germany.
In 1991, the Greeks played their debut tournament at home, finishing 14th. While they regularly featured at this level throughout the 1990s, the situation changed for the worse in the following decades. In the 21st century, their only participation in the event dates back to 2011, when it also took place in their home country.
However, Greece's best result was achieved on another continent, at Qatar 1999, when they took the eighth position. Now qualified as co-hosts, they are determined to do a good job and prove once again that handball in the country is on the rise.
The 49-year-old head coach Nikos Georgiadis, who led PAOK H.C. to the title of the Greek champion in 2015, has been working with his current players since 2017, starting with the U16 level.
In attack, a lot is expected from Achilleas Toskas, the right back from G.C.Drama 1986, who became the top scorer of the Greek league in 2022/23 with 138 goals in 22 matches. At the age of 18, he is already a member of the senior national team, and his 21 goals in the EHF EURO 2024 qualification helped Greece to secure a berth at their maiden European Championship.
Being the only European side in Group H, where they are set to face Egypt, Saudi Arabia and debutants Cuba, Greece will play their group matches in Athens and enjoy the support of their home crowd. And advancing to the main round is not their ultimate goal, as the co-hosts hope to reach at least the quarter-final.
Key players: Achilleas Toskas (right back), Konstantinos Kotsionis (centre back), Dimitris Mpampatzanidis (goalkeeper)
Qualification for Germany/Greece 2023: Co-hosts
History in tournament: 1991: 14th, 1993: 16th, 1995: 13th, 1997: 18th, 1999: 8th, 2011: 16th
Group in Germany/Greece 2023: Group H (Egypt, Greece, Cuba, Saudi Arabia)