28 Nov. 2022
Co-hosts Sweden will be heavily favoured in Group C at the 28th IHF Men’s World Championship as they will be hosting two teams from the South and Central American Handball Confederation (Brazil and Uruguay) and one from the African Handball Confederation (Cape Verde) in Gothenburg.
The reigning European champions have all the ingredients to win the group and progress to the main round with four points as the experience, the depth, and the fans will be on their side, while also boasting a positive head-to-head record against Brazil, the only team of the group that they ever played before in competitive matches in the IHF Men’s World Championship or the Olympic Games.
Sweden have won all five competitive matches against Brazil by a margin of at least five goals, with three of those matches being played at the Olympic Games, the other two at the IHF Men’s World Championship.
Both matches played at the World Championship editions ended with the same result, a 29:21 win for Sweden – at Iceland 1995, where Brazil made their debut in the competition, and at Portugal 2003.
With centre back Jim Gottfridsson, the MVP of the EHF EURO 2022, making his return to the court in late November after an injury, Sweden will be hoping he will be 100 % fit. Yet, they will be heavily favoured against Brazil while their matches against Uruguay and Cape Verde, two teams that Sweden never played against before Poland/Sweden 2023, are sure to see Glenn Solberg’s side installed as huge favourites.
Brazil’s form at the IHF Men’s World Championship has been up and down as they finished ninth in 2019, their best-ever result, only to see them relegated to the 18th place at Egypt 2021, with a single win, two draws, and three losses. Yet, their path has been very difficult, their most prestigious result being a draw against Spain.
They have never played against Cape Verde but have a very experienced roster with stalwarts like left back Haniel Langaro or line player Rogerio Moraes and have won every match against Uruguay in dominating fashion.
In fact, the average margin of win for Brazil against Uruguay is 18.87 goals per match, with only one of the 16 wins recorded in all competitions being by less than ten goals, a 31:22 win at the PanAmerican Championships in 2006.
The two sides, which know each other very well, have met 16 times in the past 23 years, with the latest match between Brazil and Uruguay coming in January at the 2022 South and Central American Men’s Handball Championship, where Brazil recorded one of their largest-ever wins against Uruguay, 48:20, on their way to the title.
For Uruguay, this will be only their second participation at the IHF Men’s World Championship and the second time they are drawn in the same preliminary round group as Cape Verde. However, in 2021, the African side managed to play but a single match, a 27:34 loss against Hungary, before an outbreak of COVID-19 took them out of the competition.
Therefore, Uruguay were awarded a 10:0 walkover and secured their only win in the competition. However, they advanced to the main round phase, finishing on the 24th place with a goal difference of -94.
Last but not least, Cape Verde return to the biggest of stages for the second time in history with an excellent display at the 2022 CAHB Men’s African Handball Championship, where they finished second, securing the first medal in the history of the team. This unexpected silver has definitely motivated the side even higher.
Their main undoing could be the lack of experience at a high level. Yet, Cape Verde duly surprised at the continental tournament they played last summer, securing wins against Angola and Morocco to qualify for the final where they stood no chance against Egypt.