Portugal Coach:




Team Players

Team Info

Despite being a base for club handball on the sand in Europe, thanks to the numerous events held in the coastal town of Nazare – home to some of the biggest waves in the world – Portugal’s senior national sides have not yet made waves on a continental or global level, at least in the medal tables.

A pair of fourth-placed finishes on home sand at the Nazare-based European Championships last year are their best results at senior level, while Portugal’s pedigree at IHF World Championship level is hard to gauge, with the men’s team making their debut in the global event just two years ago, at Greece 2022.

In fact, their best international result is a silver gained by their men’s youth side at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Two years ago, and led by Paulo Felix, who coached the men’s youth team to second place in Argentina, Portugal won their opener in Heraklion, against New Zealand to seal their place in the main round effectively, despite losses against Qatar – where the Europeans took the second set, but lost 8:9 in the shoot-out – and 0-2 against Brazil.

Again they took the second set against a strong side, losing 6:7 in a shoot-out against Denmark in their main round opener, but a tight loss against Asian champions Islamic Republic of Iran (1-2, 24:22, 18:19, SO 6:8) meant they would not have enough to qualifying through to the quarter-finals, even though they beat Norway 2-1 in their final main round game.

Despite the disappointment, they impressed in the 9-16 placement round, defeating Egypt (2-1) and the USA (2-0) to set up a return match against Iran for 9/10 place, which was a step too far.

One of the shining lights for Portugal – and for global beach handball in general – is 27-year-old Diogo Oliveira. The specialist finished second in the goalscoring charts at Greece 2022, with 149 points and his importance for his country is clear.

Recently nominated for the IHF Beach Handball Showcase on the sidelines of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Oliveira was a key player as his country put in their best-ever performance at a continental event, guiding his team to that fourth place on home sand last year.

After beating Spain in a dramatic quarter-final shoot-out they faced Hungary in the semi-finals, again it went to a shoot-out, with the hosts leading 8:6 but missing a one-pointer and then their following shot to lose their chance of a guaranteed medal. A heartbreaking shoot-out loss to Denmark in the bronze match ended their dreams of a home podium spot.

This fourth place was repeated at the European Games a few weeks later in Poland, with exactly the same sequence of results in their final two games – losses against Hungary in the semi-finals and losing to Denmark in the bronze medal match. In Tarnow, they also faced China 2024 group opponents Croatia in the preliminary round, a match they lost 0-2 (24:26, 15:18).

These results have seen the European Handball Federation rank the Portuguese men sixth in their rankings released earlier this month and it will be fascinating to see the progression of the side, now overseen by women’s national team coach Agustín Collado Rodríguez on an interim basis in his role as Technical Coordinator for the Portuguese national teams. He will be assisted with his men’s team duties in China by fellow Spanish expert, Pedro Serrano.

“We have a lot of work ahead and a great challenge with high-level male and female athletes, who aim to improve the rankings obtained from the last world championships,” said Rodríguez to fpa.pt. “For this, arriving well-prepared for the big competition will be essential.”

To prepare for China 2024, Portugal travelled to neighbouring Spain for a friendly tournament featuring multiple games against Spain and Qatar in Cadiz in early June which saw them open up their campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory over the host nation (27:24, 29:28).

“Above all, we started to look at beach handball in a transversal way, not as a handball sports holiday, but as a real sport where training, commitment and performance are required,” said 37-year-old Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo Castro to eurohandball.com about the continued improvement of his country on the sand.

“Nowadays, almost all clubs have coaches and people who want to take this sport to another level. We often manage to beat the best teams in the world, so we also started to look at beach handball in a different way.”

Coach: AgustĂ­n Collado RodrĂ­guez/Pedro Serrano

Key Player: Diogo Oliveira, Ricardo Castro

Qualification information: 2023 European Championships – 4th

History in Tournament: 2004-2018: DNQ, 2022: 10th

Group at China 2024: Group C: Croatia, Argentina, Portugal, Puerto Rico