CyprusCoach: Andreas Andreou
The team of Cyprus is heading into their second IHF Men's Emerging Nations Championship after 2017. Six years ago, the tournament was also held in Varna, and the Cypriots took the fourth position, narrowly missing a podium finish. In the semi-final, Turkey defeated them only in extra time (32:35) before losing to Kosovo in the third-place encounter (25:32).
More recently, they became runners-up at the 2021 Men's IHF/EHF Trophy in Tbilisi, losing to home team Georgia in the final. Now the team coached by Andreas Andreou are determined to go far again and plan to do it step by step. Cyprus' primary mission is to finish top of Group B, where they will face the Republic of Moldova and Australia, and then the next task will be to reach the final.
Earlier this year, Cyprus national team took part in phase 1 of the Men's EHF EURO 2026 qualification, finishing second ahead of Azerbaijan and Malta, but behind Great Britain. Some members of that squad are expected to become the team's key players in Varna – in particular the three back court players: the 27-year-old Alexandros Charlambous, the 30-year-old Demetris Nikiforou and Loucas Paraskeva, who is 26.
While some Cyprus handballers play in the national top division, others represent second-tier clubs or junior teams. With a mix of youth and experience, Andreou's team is entering the tournament in Varna with healthy ambitions and big goals, and only time will show if they live up to expectations.
Key players: Alexandros Charlambous (centre back), Demetris Nikiforou (right back), Loucas Paraskeva (left back)
History in tournament: 2017: 4th
Group at Bulgaria 2023: Group B (Cyprus, Republic of Moldova, Australia)