Teams get into full gear before the start of the 2024 IHF Women's Junior World Championship

11 Jun. 2024

Teams get into full gear before the start of the 2024 IHF Women's Junior World Championship

There are only eight days before the start of the 2024 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, when the top 32 teams in the world will enter the fray with their eyes firmly set on the big prize – the world title – currently held by Norway, who won the gold medal two years ago, at Slovenia 2022.

There are 16 European teams, six Asian sides, five African representatives, three teams from South and Central America and two teams from North America and the Caribbean taking part in the competition and all have now entered the final stages of preparation before throwing off the 2024 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship.

While some of the teams are just finishing their training camps, like Romania, who prepared for two weeks, or Egypt, who have trained at home and will now head to Hungary, to complete their preparation, others have been testing themselves against strong opposition, to get to the best possible level before the start of the competition, which is throwing off in Skopje, on 19 June.

Over the last week, Czechia, who finished 11th at the previous edition of the IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, had two friendly matches, a doubleheader, against Switzerland on their home court in Jindřichově Hradci, losing both matches.

Switzerland, who are without start right wing Mia Emmenegger, who made the jump to the senior team, dominated both matches and improved their morale with two wins, 31:25 and 29:25, before they face Egypt, Tunisia and Chile in Group C.

Four strong European sides faced off in the Torneo IV Naciones – the Four Nations Tournament – in Portugal, with Spain, Germany, France and Portugal facing off in a fiery competition.

Spain, Germany and France will be also clashing in the preliminary round in Group F, where they also face Serbia, in the most balanced group of the competition, as only two teams will progress to the main round and continue their path to winning the title.

And the balanced nature of that group was surely on display in the friendly competition which took place between 6 and 8 June in the Pavilhão Multiusos de Pinhel, as Germany secured the first place, but with only two wins out of three matches.

The first match saw Spain take a 33:30 win over Germany, putting them into a strong position, while France delivered an excellent 36:31 win over hosts Portugal, as Eric Baradat’s side was excellent attacking-wise.

France then delivered another excellent win, 32:19, against Portugal, leaving them in an excellent position to win the competition and get into full groove before the start of North Macedonia 2024.

Before the last day, France was leading, with four points, followed by Germany, who secured a 33:26 win over hosts Portugal, with Spain also close to the first place, while Portugal were last, with zero points.

But in the last day, Portugal beat Spain, 19:17, ending all chances for “Las Guerreras” to seal the first place, which meant that Germany needed to beat France to secure the first place, having the head-to-head advantage, as both teams would have ended on four points.

With five goals from Nieke Kühne, Germany delivered a fantastic performance to clinch a 37:29 win against France, which meant that they won the competition, with four points, followed by France, tied on points, but with the head-to-head record going to Germany, as Portugal finished third and Spain fourth.

The 24th IHF Women’s Junior World Championship will start on 19 June in Skopje, North Macedonia, with 32 teams at the start. All matches will be played in the capital, with three arenas, the Boris Trajkovski Sports Center and the two Jane Sandanski arenas ready to welcome the sides. The final day will be 30 June, where the podium will be confirmed.

Photo: Adéla Kvapilová / Česká házená