18 Jun. 2020
The 16 nations set to contest the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 at the end of the year in Norway and Denmark learned their preliminary round opponents when the draw for the final tournament was conducted in Vienna on Thursday morning. The event will be held from
3 to 20 December, and will decide the European title along with three places at the next IHF Women’s World Championship.
While the Men’s EHF EURO has expanded to 24 teams as of 2020, the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 will be played with 16 countries as per the previous editions for both genders. France will aim to defend their title won in Paris in 2018, marking a first women’s European title for the nation.
France will start their campaign in preliminary Group A, meeting 2012 European champions Montenegro and Slovenia. The three sides will each face a fiery clash against the last team in their group – EURO co-hosts Denmark. Denmark will not only be playing at home, but in the iconic and atmospheric Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning, where a number of major international titles have been decided in recent years, including the 2019 IHF Men’s World Championship and the Men’s EHF EURO 2014.
EHF EURO 2018 runners-up and current Olympic champions Russia were drawn into Group B, along with 2017 IHF Women’s World Championship semi-finalists Sweden, 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship finalists Spain, and Czech Republic. Group B will also play in Denmark, in Frederikshavn.
The reigning world champions Netherlands will start in Group C in Trondheim, Norway, one of the host cities of the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 in January. There, they will take on Hungary, Serbia and Croatia.
The other EHF EURO 2020 co-hosts, Norway, will play in Group D. EHF EURO 2018 semi-finalists Romania, Germany and Poland were the nations drawn into this group, which will also be based in Trondheim.
The two top sides in each group will proceed from the preliminary round to the main round, which is played in two groups – one based in Stavanger, Norway and one in Herning. The top two teams in each main round group then qualify for the semi-finals. The final weekend, comprising the semi-finals and medal matches, will be played in Oslo’s Telenor Arena.
The three top-ranked sides at the EHF EURO 2020 will earn places at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship in Spain. If the World Championship hosts Spain or defending world champions Netherlands are among the top three, their place will go to the next best-ranked side, as the two are already qualified for Spain 2021.
On Thursday morning, the Norwegian and Danish Handball Federations, together with the EHF, shared a message to all involved in the EHF EURO 2020.
“The current global health situation is very challenging for all sports and, of course, together with the Organising Committees in Denmark and Norway, we have been discussing and analysing various scenarios when it comes to the presence of fans and the potential effects on the tournament as a whole,” EHF President Michael Wiederer said.
“However, for the EHF and for women’s handball, major events are of core importance. We are confident within reason that the EHF EURO can be played in front of spectators. A cancellation is currently not seen as an option.”
More information on the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 can be found on the official website.