Netherlands and Slovenia receive Wild Cards for Poland/Sweden 2023

28 Jun. 2022

Netherlands and Slovenia receive Wild Cards for Poland/Sweden 2023

The IHF Council has decided that the two Wild Cards available for the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship in Poland and Sweden will be awarded to the Netherlands and Slovenia

In accordance with the Regulations for IHF Competitions, one Wild Card shall be awarded for IHF senior events. In addition, no representative from Oceania ranked fifth or higher at the Asian qualification as Australia placed 16th at the AHF Asian Men’s Handball Championship. Therefore, in accordance with Article 1.1.3 of the Regulations for IHF Competitions, this place is awarded as a free Wild Card.

Over the past few months, various National Federations from all over the world expressed their interest to take part in the men’s flagship event, asking to be granted a Wild Card. 

However, a request alone does not grant a Wild Card. The performance level of the men’s national handball teams at previous handball events on international and continental level and the general development of handball in the country concerned are among the factors that have been taken into consideration in the decision-making process. 

After a thorough analysis of the situation, the IHF Council decided to award the Wild Cards to the National Federations of the Netherlands and Slovenia.

Netherlands are one of the teams on the rise, who have seen a remarkable improvement over the past few years, confirmed by the 10th-place finish at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in January.

They will make a long-awaited comeback at the IHF Men’s World Championship, after last featuring in 1961, when they finished 11th, losing both matches they played.

The other team to receive a Wild Card is Slovenia. They will take part in their 10th edition of the IHF Men’s World Championship, after making it to the final weekend twice – at Spain 2013, when they finished fourth, and at France 2017, when they secured the bronze medal.

Both the Handball Federations of Slovenia and the Netherlands invest in the future of handball, ensuring the visibility and thus growth of the sport in their countries, as Slovenia currently organise the 2022 IHF Women's Junior (U20) World Championship and will stage the IHF Men's Youth (U19) World Championship in 2025, the same year in which the Netherlands will co-host the IHF Women's World Championship. 
With the two Wild Cards now awarded, 27* teams taking part in the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship have been confirmed. 

2023 IHF Men’s World Championship

From 12 to 29 January 2023, 32 teams will make strides to clinch the big prize – the gold medals and the trophy at the 28th IHF Men’s World Championship.

The 27* teams confirmed for Poland/Sweden 2023 so far are:

Hosts (2): Poland (POL) and Sweden (SWE)
Reigning World Champions (1): Denmark (DEN)
Asia (5): Qatar (QAT), Bahrain (BRN), Saudi Arabia (KSA), Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Republic of Korea (KOR)
Europe (12): France (FRA), Norway (NOR), Spain (ESP), Belgium (BEL), Croatia (CRO), Germany (GER), Hungary (HUN), Iceland (ISL), Montenegro (MNE), North Macedonia (MKD), Portugal (POR), Serbia (SRB)
North America and the Caribbean: United States of America (USA)*
South and Central America (4): Brazil (BRA), Argentina (ARG), Chile (CHI), Uruguay (URU)
Wild Cards: Netherlands (NED), Slovenia (SLO)

The six remaining teams will be determined at the qualification events of the North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation, whose champion will earn the ticket to Poland/Sweden 2023 on 1 July, and the African Handball Confederation, with the top five teams in the CAHB African Men’s Handball Championship, which will take place in Egypt between 11 and 18 July after it had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sealing their place in the world flagship competition.

The four pots containing the 32 teams have also been confirmed as the draw for the event will be staged at the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice on Saturday 2 July 2022, at 17:00 CEST.

Pot 1: Denmark, Sweden, Spain, France, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Africa 1
Pot 2: Qatar, Croatia, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Montenegro, North Macedonia
Pot 3: Serbia, Hungary, Argentina, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Africa 2, Chile, Africa 3
Pot 4: Uruguay, Africa 4, Africa 5, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea, USA*, Netherlands, Slovenia

*Update after the NACHC Men's Championship finished on 30 June.