ChileCoach: José Tham
For the first time in 14 years, Chile are back at the IHF Women’s World Championship, making their second appearance in the world handball flagship competition, after they finished 23rd at China 2009.
Turning back the time, the South American side secured only one win in nine matches, avoiding a last-place finish only thanks to a 32:21 win over Australia in the Placement Match 23/24, but they failed to make the cut for the IHF Women’s World Championship over the next six editions.
The tables have turned, now, and Chile women’s national team is following in the footsteps of the men’s side, which has been present in the World Championship in the last seven editions, underlining a growing passion for the sport in the country.
However, the women’s side does not have the experience, nor the depth the men’s have, with players not making the trip to Europe to feature at club level for teams, which has hampered the chances of developing the sport even further.
Nevertheless, Chile have seriously grown and that was on display at the 2022 South and Central American Women's Handball Championship, where they finished third, behind powerhouses Brazil and Argentina. The gap between Chile and the other two sides is still big, as Argentina beat them 26:18, while Brazil clearly dominated the match, 34:15.
Missing out of a place at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023 through this competition, Chile bounced back at the 2023 Central American Women's Handball Championship, where they finished on the second place, earning their spot in the world handball flagship competition.
Chile duly delivered excellent performances against Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, losing only against the hosts, Paraguay, 17:31, in the last match, but their performance was enough to clinch the second place and subsequently the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship ticket.
However, the draw has clearly not been kind to José Tham’s side, as Chile will face three European teams in Group E, in the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning. The South American side will be clear underdogs in each of the matches, where they face Denmark and Serbia for the first time in history.
The first and last time when they met Romania, in 2009, Chile lost by a whopping 34-goal margin, 17:51, but these type of losses should not come at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, as Chile look more settled on both sides of the ball.
Key players: Valeska Lovera (right back), Gabriela Muller (right wing), Catalina Galvez (right back)
Qualification for DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: 2023 Central American Women's Handball Championship: 2nd place
History in tournament: 2009: 23rd
Group at DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Group E (Denmark, Romania, Serbia, Chile)