07 Jul. 2021
With the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, we take a stroll through final team preparations before the men’s competition throws off on 24 July.
What are they doing? France just concluded a two-week preparation cam in Creteil, France. They leave for Japan on 13 July for a week-long camp in Koshu. They will start the tournament on 24 July against Argentina
Pre-Olympic fixtures: France vs Egypt 31:30 (5 July, in Paris, France), France vs Japan (18 July, in Koshu, Japan), France vs Denmark (21 July, in Tokyo, Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? The roster has been announced and it marks the comeback of Nikola Karabatic after a lengthy lay-off due to injury. The French side looks balanced, a nice mix between the experience brought by the Karabatic brothers, Vincent Gerard or Luc Abalo and the exuberance of the youth brought by the likes of Dika Mem, who has been superb this season at club level.
What opponents will they face? France are in Group A, alongside Norway, Germany, Brazil, Spain and Argentina.
What are they doing? The Germans just started their preparation on 5 July in Germany, where the team met for the first time after the end of the club season. After a three-nation tournament in Nuremberg this weekend, they will leave for Japan on 14 July, with another week-long training camp in Tokushima.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Germany vs Brazil (9 July in Nuremberg, Germany), Germany vs Egypt (11 July in Nuremberg, Germany)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? Ten players, including captain Uwe Gensheimer, are back from the squad who won the bronze medal at Rio 2016. Germany have had their ups and downs in the last years, but with coach Alfred Gislason on the bench, the stakes are high. After an undermanned side had their worst-ever placement at an IHF Men’s World Championship (12th) in Egypt last January, the team is now highly motivated.
What opponents will they face? Germany are in Group A, alongside Norway, France, Brazil, Spain and Argentina
What are they doing? Winning at all costs. First against Croatia, in the EHF EURO Cup 2022, then in a friendly game against Egypt. Their first training camp is taking place now in Pontevedra, Spain, and will end on 11 July. ‘Los Hispanos’ will travel to Tokyo for another training camp on 14 July.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Spain vs Croatia (34:22, EHF EURO Cup 2022, in Pontevedra, Spain, 27 June), Spain vs Egypt 30:29 (friendly in Ourense, Spain, 29 June), Spain vs Portugal (8 July, in Caminha, Portugal), Spain vs Portugal (10 July, in Vigo, Spain)
🇪🇸💪 ¡Los #Hispanos ya están concentrados para la segunda fase de preparación antes de viajar a los @juegosolimpicos @Tokyo2020es!— RFEBalonmano (@RFEBalonmano) July 5, 2021
🇵🇹🆚 El conjunto de Jordi Ribera disputará un doble amistoso ante @AndebolPortugal en Caminha (8 de julio) y Vigo (10 de julio)
#⃣ #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/huEpG6bAY8
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? Jordi Ribera has called up 18 players for the Olympic Games, with only 15 of them travelling to Tokyo. The Spanish side, who has never finished better than third at the Olympic Games, is packed with veterans, including Raul Entrerrios, who will retire after the end of the season. The top scorer of the EHF Champions League, Valero Ribera, is replacing the injured Aitor Arino.
What opponents will they face? Spain are in Group A, alongside Norway, France, Brazil, Germany and Argentina
What are they doing? With only two players who play outside of Germany at club level, the Norwegian side have had a different approach compared to other teams. The Scandinavian side will travel to Japan next week, where they will prepare for the challenge and a friendly against Sweden.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Norway vs Sweden (20 July, in Fukuoka, Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? The Norway men’s team are back at the Olympic Games for the first time in 49 years. Several players have knocks from a lengthy season, but they have both the experience and the hunger to shrug off any hamper. With star back Sander Sagosen in great form, they could really go all the way.
What opponents will they face? Norway are in Group A, alongside Germany, France, Brazil, Spain and Argentina
What are they doing? For the past two weeks, Brazil have been preparing for the Olympic Games at a training camp in Portugal. They will travel to Germany to play in a three-nation tournament in Nuremberg from 9 to 11 July before leaving for Japan on 12 July. Another week-long training camp will follow for Marcus Tata Oliveira’s side before starting their tournament on 24 July.
Pre-olympic fixtures: Brazil vs Portugal 34:28 (2 July, in Nazare, Portugal), Brazil vs Germany (9 July, in Nuremberg, Germany), Brazil vs Egypt (10 July, in Nuremberg, Germany)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? With several players missing due to injuries and COVID-19 at Egypt 2021, Brazil looked undermanned at times. However, they could be a dark horse in this group, with the return of defensive specialist Thiagus Petrus, who won the EHF Champions League Men with Barça. Only four of the 16 players called up by coach Marcus Tata are representing Brazilian clubs, therefore the experience could be important for the Brazilian side.
What opponents will they face? Brazil are in Group A, alongside Norway, France, Germany, Spain and Argentina
What are they doing? A three-week training camp in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. With a serious period of adaptation needed, Argentina will travel to Japan on 7 July, exactly two weeks before their first game of the tournament against France.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Argentina vs Bahrain (July 19, in Japan), Argentina vs Portugal (21 July, in Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? They still boast an experienced side and had a great IHF Men’s World Championship outing in January, missing out on a quarter-final berth in the last game. With experienced players like Diego Simonet and goalkeeper Leonel Maciel, who just signed for Barça, Argentina look to improve their 10th place from Rio 2016.
What opponents will they face? Argentina are in Group A, alongside Norway, France, Brazil, Spain and Germany
What are they doing? The reigning world champions are in the midst of their first training camp in Helsingør, running until 12 July. Two days later, the Danish side travel to Japan, where they will have another week of preparation in Okinawa.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Denmark vs Sweden (12 July, in Hillerød, Denmark)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? There are only a few changes for the reigning Olympic champions from their unbeaten squad, who won the gold medal at Egypt 2021. The MVP of the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship, Mikkel Hansen, is back in the squad as well as the 2019 IHF Men’s World Player of the Year, goalkeeper Niklas Landin. With serious experience, firepower and grit, Denmark look like the team to beat once again.
What opponents will they face? Denmark are in Group B, alongside Sweden, Portugal, Japan, Egypt and Bahrain
What are they doing? The Swedish side will have a five-day training camp in Ystad, Sweden, starting from 9 July. On 14 July, the silver medallists from Egypt 2021 are due to leave to Fukuoka, where they have a nine-day training camp prior to their first game against Bahrain.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Sweden vs Denmark (12 July, in Hillerød, Denmark), Sweden vs Norway (20 July, in Fukuoka, Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? 13 players from the team that won the silver medal at the IHF Men’s World Championship in January are back in contention for another success with the Swedish side. Experienced goalkeeper Andreas Palicka, 35, will make his debut at the Olympic Games, while only two players from the side who represented the Scandinavian nation at Rio 2016, Jim Gottfridsson and Albin Lagergren, are back in the team. Right wing Niclas Ekberg is confident to shake off a knee injury suffered in a game for his club team THW Kiel.
What opponents will they face? Sweden are in Group B, alongside Denmark, Portugal, Japan, Egypt and Bahrain
What are they doing? Three training camps. The first one is already done and dusted. They lost their first friendly game against Brazil 28:34, but will have two more against Spain, in Portugal and Spain. The team will have another five-day training camp in Nazare, before travelling to Japan on 16 July.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Portugal vs Brazil 28:34 (2 July in Nazare, Portugal), Portugal vs Spain (8 July, in Caminha, Portugal), Portugal vs Spain (10 July, in Vigo, Spain)
🏋️ 𝔹𝔸ℂ𝕂 𝕋𝕆 𝔹𝕌𝕊𝕀ℕ𝔼𝕊𝕊 🇵🇹— Federação de Andebol (@AndebolPortugal) July 6, 2021
Começa o trabalho! 💼#letsgovamos #heroisdomar #superportugal #seleçãonacionalandebol #portugal #vamoscomtudo #andebol #jogossantacasa #aguamonchique #lidlportugal #deltacafes #4moove pic.twitter.com/KHoeuCkqxI
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? It might be their first participation in the Olympic Games, but the stakes are still high. Yet, Portugal showed they can thrive under pressure, despite all the challenges thrown at them. With a charismatic coach like Paulo Pereira at the helm, the Portuguese will eye a medal, a pre-requisite for a coach who aims high. The team is not experienced, yet they compensate with their sheer will.
What opponents will they face? Portugal are in Group B, alongside Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Egypt and Bahrain
What are they doing? 20 players have been called up by coach Roberto Garcia Parrondo for the preparation period before the Olympic Games in Tokyo. They have been travelling through Europe, with a training camp in Spain and two friendly games, a 31:28 win against Croatia and a 29:30 loss against Spain, before moving on to France, where they lost a friendly game against the hosts 30:31. Before travelling to Tokyo, they will play two more friendly games at a three-nation tournament in Nuremberg, Germany, against the hosts and Brazil.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Egypt vs Croatia 31:28 (27 June, in Ourense, Spain), Egypt – Spain 29:30 (29 June, in Ourense, Spain), Egypt vs France 30:31 (5 July, in Paris, France), Egypt – Brazil (10 July, in Nuremberg, Germany), Egypt vs Germany (11 July, in Nuremberg, Germany)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? Egypt were as close as anybody to stopping Denmark’s unbeaten streak at the IHF Men’s World Championship, coming up empty-handed after an excruciating penalty shoot-out, 38:39. But they showed flashes of potential and with an experienced squad, they could be the dark horse in this group.
What opponents will they face? Egypt are in Group B, alongside Sweden, Portugal, Japan, Egypt and Bahrain
What are they doing? Training camps. Lots of them. Coach Dagur Sigurdsson has had all players at his disposal in the past weeks, conducting serious training sessions prior to the competition they will host. They had a three-week training camp between 7 and 26 June and will resume centralised preparation two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: France vs Japan (18 July, in Koshu, Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? Japan have never finished better than ninth at the Olympic Games, therefore they will have a mountain to climb if they are to improve on that result. With many players enjoying the life of the Japanese League, the chemistry will surely be high, as will their motivation playing on home soil.
What opponents will they face? Japan are in Group B, alongside Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Egypt and Bahrain
What are they doing? A training camp in Bahrain, before traveling to Tokyo. They won a game against Estonia (36:25) before having another friendly game, against Argentina, in Japan.
Pre-Olympic fixtures: Bahrain vs Estonia (36:25, July 4), Bahrain vs Estonia (26:25 5 July), Bahrain vs Estonia (6 July), Argentina vs Bahrain (July 19, in Japan)
What are the main takes before the Olympic Games? Coach Aron Kristjansson is back in business and has a squad of 24 players at his disposal before travelling to Tokyo. They are still a team who will need to improve their IHF Men’s World Championship performance if they are to stand a chance of progressing from the group.
What opponents will they face? Bahrain are in Group B, alongside Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Japan and Egypt
Click here for more information about the men's handball competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Photo: Portuguese Handball Federation