2024 IHF Beach Handball World Championship draw: player and coach reactions

04 May. 2024

2024 IHF Beach Handball World Championship draw: player and coach reactions

Friday 3 May saw the draws made for the 2024 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championships which will be played at the ‘Pingtan International Beach Sports Base’ based in the Long Wangtou Ocean Park on Pingtan Island, People’s Republic of China from 18 to 23 June 2024.

ihf.info got some reaction from the players and coaches involved…

2024 IHF Women’s Beach Handball World Championship

Group A: Australia (AUS), Philippines (PHI), People’s Republic of China (CHN), Portugal (POR)

Jana Franquelli, Coach – Philippines:
“We’re thrilled to be making our debut at the IHF Beach Handball World Championships. It's an exciting opportunity for the Philippines to play on the world stage.

“We are ready to face the challenge head-on against Australia, Portugal and China. I’m sure the teams are prepared and we expect tough matches from everyone.

“In this dynamic environment, every team has the chance to shine and make their mark. That’s the beauty of Beach Handball.”

Allira Hudson-Gofers, Player – Australia:
"The Australian women are pleased with our preliminary group and ready to continue our Beach Handball development journey at the upcoming world championships.

"Portugal will be tough competition. They are a very strong team, finishing fourth at the European Championship. We haven't had the opportunity to play the Philippines or China recently, but neither should be underestimated as they will no doubt bring the speed these teams are known for.

"We are currently training hard and looking forward to coming together as a team for our final preparation camp in early June, before putting on our best display in China."

Group B: Croatia (CRO), Vietnam (VIE), Argentina (ARG), Spain (ESP)

Leticia Brunati, Coach – Argentina:
“It's a very tough group. Spain are one of the best teams in the world and they have achieved the finals in all tournaments – IHF World Championship, EHF European Championship and European Games – since 2022. They have a lot of good players in attack and defence, plus really good goalkeepers too.

“Vietnam are also a very good team. The team plays very well, very fast and their attack is very strong. I had the opportunity to see them in competition in Asia last year.

“Finally, Croatia are a great team too. They have some players who were in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the Croatian team is growing – like us – with young players. The group will be very close.”

Group C: United States of America (USA), Denmark (DEN), Norway (NOR), Netherlands (NED)

Eskil Berg Andreassen, Coach – Norway:
“I think our preliminary group is the hardest one, but also the main round group we could be in, with the strong Germany, Brazil and Greece teams.

“I see Germany as the big favourite for China 2024. Behind Germany it could be close and it will be exciting to see how good Brazil is this time.”

Group D: Puerto Rico (PUR), Greece (GRE), Brazil (BRA), Germany (GER)

Nathalie Sena, Player – Brazil:
“Group D reflects how strong the 2024 IHF Women’s Beach Handball World Championship will be in China. 

“Puerto Rico we don't know their style of play as we've never played against them. I know the Greek team, as we have played some EHF European Beach Tour (ebt) games together. They are my great friends and they are currently evolving.

“For me, Greece and Germany are great teams and we will play incredible games against them. We are preparing for this great challenge.”

Magdalini Kepesidou, Player – Greece:
“Three out of the four teams in our group – Germany, Brazil and ourselves – have been world champions so undoubtedly this group is, in my opinion, the most competitive one.

“We have the mentality of champions and we also like playing with the best teams in the world, so we are looking forward to the fight.”

Alexander Novakovic, Coach – Germany:
“We're really happy and excited about coming to China and to play in our preliminary group against these tough teams, especially Brazil and for sure, also Greece.

“It’s a little bit like the ‘Group of World Champions’. You have Brazil, the IHF Women’s Beach Handball ¬World Championship record title winners, and Greece, who gained the title (2018) before we had the chance to be the world champion in 2022.

“It will be tough, but we are really happy to play against these really strong teams.

“When we look one step forward into the main round, it could be a really ‘death-making’ main round group with three teams joining from Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and the United States. It will be really tough and whomever comes through that main round group will be in a good position for the quarter-finals.

“We're looking forward to it and we're really happy to be able to go to China. We have a lot of self-confidence but respect all the strong teams we will face in the preliminary group and – we hope – the main round too.”

2024 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship

Group A: Australia (AUS), Oman (OMA), Denmark (DEN), Hungary (HUN)

Gorm Andersen, Coach – Denmark:
“Our goal is a podium finish, but this is the strongest line-up I can remember and there will be no easy games. The ‘smaller’ Beach Handball nations are getting closer to the ‘big’ ones and I will not be surprised if we see a couple of them produce ‘underdog’ wins.

“Our preliminary group includes European champions Hungary and they will be treated with the respect that deserves. Many of their players have been together for a long time and they have the tools to go all the way and win the title. We always have tight, good matches with them and it will be no different when we face them in Pingtan; it will be a 50/50 match. 

“We will be favourites against Australia, but again, I can’t remember a match against them where we had a clear win without a close set.

“And then Oman. I’m looking forward to facing them as Oman is my second home after I coached their men’s side from 2009-2011 and know the spirit of their players really well.

“They never give up and always stand together, strong, as a group. That, combined with a smart coaching team which always has a ‘joker’ up their sleeves when games are reaching the end means there are another opponent to be respected.

“China 2024 will, for sure, be a difficult task for us.”

Group B: Tunisia (TUN), Spain (ESP), People’s Republic of China (CHN), Brazil (BRA)

Bruno Carlos de Oliveira, Player – Brazil: 
“Today, there are no easy games in Beach Handball. Every team is studying our play and because of this we have to make different (ones) – I believe this world championship will be the most difficult so far.

“Spain are already a traditional opponent and always an excellent match, while met Tunisia on the IHF Beach Handball Global Tour last year and they are a growing team. Playing against hosts China will be an honour and I’m happy they chose the group with us in it.”

Group C: Puerto Rico (PUR), Portugal (POR), Argentina (ARG), Croatia (CRO)

Mladen Paradžik, Coach – Croatia:
“It is a great honour and responsibility for us to be back at an IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship as this is Croatia's 10th participation and we have never missed one so far.

“All groups for China 2024 are nicely balanced in that the favourites for the title are evenly distributed. In Group C, we have the opportunity to play against three big national teams who we have played against in previous competitions over the past two years.

“In our last match against Puerto Rico we had big problems, while Argentina was the only team to beat us at the 2022 World Games in the USA. Portugal are investing a lot in the sport and this investment has paid off as they have now become the driving force of the European Beach Handball.

“We aware of our own strength, but we also want to emphasise that we are aware of the strength of the opposing teams. Every game will be important and we will have to give our best from the very first game to defend the title we won two years ago – if you are the defending champions, then all the other teams are ‘after you’ and even more motivated to beat you.

“A tough task lies ahead of us. Sometimes we will succeed, sometimes we will not, but our attitude and expectations are always high and always the same: we want to be amongst the best teams.”

Group D: United States of America (USA), Uruguay (URU), Qatar (QAT), Germany (GER)

Ebiye Udo-Udoma, Player – United States of America:
“Coincidentally, every team in our  group was invited to stage one of the 2024 IHF Beach Handball Global Tour and each team has representatives that will play at the ‘IHF Beach Handball Showcase’ in Paris this July. 

“This is testament to both the individual and collective calibre within the teams in the group. Our relationship with Uruguay goes back to the 2016 Pan-American Championship final, while Qatar are the reigning IHF Beach Handball Global Tour champions.

“Germany had an incredible continental championship run last year so the games in Group D should be competitive and spectacular.”

Mohamed Zaky, Player – Qatar:
"I think our group is the hardest one between all four of the preliminary groups. Germany and the USA have always been trying to win the big games and they have earned their place in amongst the big teams.

"Uruguay is one of the oldest, most experienced teams in this sport, with a mix of youth too, so they have all the capabilities to reach a good place in China."