22 May. 2022
On Friday 13 May, the draw was made for the 2022 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championships which will be played on the island of Crete in Heraklion, Greece from 21 to 26 June.
ihf.info got some reaction from the players and coaches involved…
2022 IHF MEN'S BEACH HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Argentina, Greece, United States of America, Puerto Rico
Ebiye Udo-Udoma, Player – United States of America:
“We faced Argentina three times in 2018, at the end of the group stage at the last Pan American in Oceanside, USA and twice at Kazan 2018 (IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship) so it’ll be nice to rekindle that rivalry now that we’ve won two continental titles since and the sport has exploded in their country on the back of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games they hosted in Buenos Aires.
“Our continental brothers Puerto Rico played us close in the recent NACHC final and having that match-up fresh in our minds, we’ll look at the tape and prepare to take them on again.
“But it goes without saying that the game I’m looking most forward to is getting to face the host nation Greece, especially if we get the opening ceremony game like we got against Russia in Kazan.
“It’s such a rush as a competitor to have that game with everyone at the arena, all the excitement of the competition lingering in the air, and you’re on the main court in a critical match-up with local fans heavily invested in the game.”
Group B: Croatia, Spain, Uruguay, Ecuador
Ivan Juric, Player – Croatia:
“I know Spain and Uruguay well, although Spain could be a mystery because they have a big player base and it is yet to be seen which roster will travel to Crete. Ecuador is a complete mystery as I’ve never played against them or seen them play. I expect close games against Spain and Uruguay, but don’t know what to think about Ecuador.
“It’s an interesting group and I’m content with it. I think and hope we will make it to the main round and if I’m right, our group crosses with group A in the main round so any eventual quarter-final is going to be a tough game against a difficult opponent.”
Matias Oholeguy Grub, Player – Uruguay:
“We have a very demanding group with two clear favourites; Croatia and Spain. With the pleasant note of Ecuador's debut in a World Championship this will surely be a plus to further raise the level they showed in the qualifiers in Maceio.
“With all three teams, we have faced each other on many occasions. In the last qualifiers, Ecuador showed its best level in recent years and we met Spain and Croatia last time at the ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar back in 2019.
“Spain showed a great level with a great defence and a very fast and effective attack. Croatia always has a very high defence that complicates us and a lethal attack. It is a podium team in the history of the sport.”
Group C: Denmark, Norway, Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt
Gorm Andersen, Head Coach – Denmark:
“It is a group of countries we have the utmost respect for. Egypt and Iran are relatively unknown to us but Iran’s Brazilian coach is certainly a legend within beach handball and we are eager to see what Antonio Guerra Peixe can do with this team.
“We know more about Norway and their excellent players. They are putting in lots of training hours leading up to this championship so we know they will come well-prepared.”
Wael Aly, Head Coach – Egypt:
“All the groups are so difficult, but all the team and I hope we do our best as we aim for a good performance and ranking at Greece 2022.”
Martin Vilstrup Jr Andersen, Player – Denmark (part of training squad for Greece 2022, Denmark have yet to select their squad):
“Overall I think we got a group with a lot of exciting matches. It looks to be a tournament with a high level and a lot of interesting matches. We’re really looking forward to playing another World Championship and hope to do really well.
“We played Iran at the 2018 World Championship in Kazan and in 2019 and they have now got the Brazilian coach, Mr Guerra Peixe, so it’s going to be exciting to see what impact he has.
“Norway are the team that we’ve played against the most times and we’re also going to be at the same training camp next week. Our matches with them are always high intense games.
“Egypt I only know from the 2014 World Championship in Recife. I heard they are trying to build up a new team, with young great talents, so it’s hard to say what’s coming, but I expect a strong opponent.”
Group D: Brazil, Portugal, Qatar, New Zealand
Tim Rayner, Head Coach – New Zealand:
“It will be challenging to go against all our group competitors with a young squad, but exciting to find out where we are at.
“We’re obviously stoke to play Brazil – what else can you say? They have won everything. It is exciting to have Qatar in our pool as it’s a team we played in Russia, at Kazan 2018, and felt if we executed well could have pushed towards getting a victory.
“Portugal are not always at the worlds, but we played against them at the 2017 IHF Men’s U17 World Championship in Mauritius and it will be exciting to see their players who have progressed as we now have three players from Mauritius in our men’s team.”
2022 IHF WOMEN'S BEACH HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Group A: Greece, Portugal, Mexico, Thailand
Magdalini Kepesidou, Player – Greece (Greece are current world champions and, as hosts, had the right to choose their group in the draw):
“I have total trust in my coaches and the fact that they choose this group gives me hope for the first phase.
“Portugal is the only European team and we know them from the previous European Championship. They have made some important steps over the previous years as they finished fifth in the European Championship and are quick and skilful.
“In the previous World Championship we didn’t compete against Mexico or Thailand which makes our preparation a little strange but we have time to figure it out up until 21 June.
“Group D is very strong but we are at an IHF World Championship where every team is really good and very skilled. The level is going up every year and that’s good.
“Playing at home will be really fantastic, the place will be beautiful, the courts will be full and you can’t imagine how much I am looking forward for the World Championship to start. Reaching the top of the world is easier than maintaining there, so I think our mission is harder than in Kazan but that doesn’t mean that we will not give everything we have to defend our title.”
Group B: Denmark, Spain, Vietnam, United States of America
Morten Frandsen Holmen, Head Coach – Denmark:
“It is an interesting group with both known and unknown factors. We have played against Spain many times and are familiar with what an excellent team they are.
“We know less about Vietnam and the USA so those matches will be exciting challenges for us. Overall, we are satisfied with the draw.”
Ha Hanh, Player – Vietnam
“Our group is a pretty strong group, but in the other groups I see Group D as a group of the best teams in the tournament and, fortunately, we are not in that group.
“We last played against Spain at the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar and played well, only lost in a shoot-out. For Denmark, we had a practice match with them and they are in good form. Their players are good and they won the title in Qatar.
“As for the USA team, I just watch them play and think they are also a formidable team from the Americas.”
Group C: Argentina, Netherlands, Uruguay, Australia
Agustina Mirotta, Player – Argentina:
“Having played in some tournaments with both Uruguay and Australia it’s good because you already know your rivals. Our first objective is to pass through this preliminary round, but we are going to go for everything. Although we have to continue working on some things, as a team we are very well united and that shows on the court.”
Gisella Bonomi, Player – Argentina:
“We have not faced the Netherlands in the older category, but we did play them in the youth category (two defeats, at the 2017 IHF U17 World Championship and in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games). Now, many of those players are in the senior team, as is my case, so they will surely have a high level of play, but we trust ourselves and can achieve great results.”
Group D: Germany, Norway, Brazil, Hungary
Julie Aspelund Berg, Player – Norway:
“Brazil are obviously a really, really good team with a lot of experience and a team you always can depend on fighting until the end, so it will be a really tough match, like every match in our group.
“We don’t know Germany too well as I think we last played against them back in 2015 but it was before my time. We saw some matches of them last year when they won the European Championship in Bulgaria and obviously they looked very solid and strong, so we’re looking forward to finally meet them.
“We’ve played and trained a lot together with the Hungarians so we know them well but that means they know us well too. They play with a lot of power and intensity, but at least we know them a bit better than Germany and Brazil.”