03 Nov. 2020
Qualification for the next men’s European championship, the EHF EURO 2022, begins on Wednesday 4 November with 32 teams on the starting grid and 20 places at the final tournament on the line. The qualification phase will take place over six rounds and finish in May 2021.
For the qualification phase, the 32 teams have been drawn into eight groups of four. The two top-ranked teams from each group, along with the four best third-ranked teams from all groups, will qualify for the final event in Hungary and Slovakia in January 2022.
While some matches have been postponed due to the current situation with COVID-19 in the countries involved, many teams will open their qualification campaigns in the two rounds to be played this week, which will include a total of 21 matches still scheduled to take place.
The co-hosts Hungary and Slovakia are directly qualified for the event. The winners of the EHF EURO 2020, Spain, and the silver medallists from the January event, Croatia, are also directly qualified. The four sides will play the EHF EURO Cup in parallel with the qualification phase, opening on Wednesday with Hungary hosting Spain.
The next highest ranked teams at the EHF EURO 2020, Norway (bronze medallists) and Slovenia (fourth) have had their respective openers postponed. Among those who will take the court this week, however, are current world and Olympic champions Denmark.
After a disappointing early exit at the EHF EURO 2020, where Denmark recorded their lowest ever final ranking at the continental championship, the Scandinavian side will be eager to regain their status as one of the most formidable teams. They will start their qualification against Switzerland on Wednesday night.
Also opening their campaign this week are the last team to raise the trophy before Spain – EHF EURO 2016 winners Germany, taking on Bosnia-Herzegovina. After placing fifth at the 2020 edition, Germany have a new coach at the helm: long-time coach of top German club THW Kiel, Alfred Gislason.
“We are now preparing for the way our opponents will play in November and with an eye on the World Championship already,” Gislason told the official site of the European Handball Federation in October. “When you represent Germany, the goals are never small. We are a tournament team that always wants to go far.”
As Gislason highlights, the EURO qualification matches represent an important chance for teams participating in the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship to have some additional time together and play competitive matches before the global event – something the national teams have not done for many months due to the cancellation or postponement of various events.
Following these two opening rounds, rounds 3 and 4 will take place in January 2021, and round 5 and 6 will be held in April and May.
More information on the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 qualification phase can be found on the official EHF site.
Note: Information correct at time of publishing. See here for the latest updates to the playing schedule.