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Five teams make it to the European Qualification Phase 2 for Croatia/Denmark/Norway 2025

18 Jan. 2024

Five teams make it to the European Qualification Phase 2 for Croatia/Denmark/Norway 2025

With less than one year before the throw-off at the 2025 IHF Men’s World Championship, the European Qualification Phase 1 has concluded, with five teams progressing to the Qualification Phase 2 – Part 1, where eight teams are in the mix for a place in the next round.

The first four double-headers took place in November 2023, with Finland, Estonia, Slovakia and Italy progressing to the Qualification Phase 2, and they have now been joined by Israel, who delivered a big comeback in the second leg against Luxembourg to make it to the next phase of the European Qualifiers.

Back in November, Finland secured the largest aggregate win, as they thoroughly dominated Great Britain, taking a 25:16 win in Motherwell, before clearly dominating on their home court, 33:12, powering their way to a 58:28 aggregate win.

Estonia also sealed two wins, 30:29 and 28:22 in the all-Baltic derby against Latvia, for a 58:51 aggregate win, while Slovakia, who are aiming to return to the world handball flagship competition for the first time since 2011, took a 58:51 aggregate win against Kosovo.

The closest double-header was the one between Türkiye and Italy, with only a goal separating the two sides. The first leg, watched by 5,000 spectators in Sakarya, saw Türkiye take a 37:28 win and become huge favourites to clinch the spot in the next phase.

However, backed by a seven-goal performance from Marco Mengon and Alessio Moretti, Italy bounced back and clinched a 37:27 win, turning the double-header on its head and advancing thanks to a 65:64 aggregate win.

The last double-header – the one between Luxembourg and Israel – was postponed due to the current situation in the latter country and played in January in Luxembourg, on 17 and 18 January.

Surprisingly, Luxembourg took a 31:28 win in the first leg, when Yann Hoffmann scored 10 goals, but one day later, Israel bounced back and secured a 35:27 win, to clinch a 63:55 aggregate win and progress to the next phase.

Scheduled for 13 and 16 March, the Qualification Phase 2 – Part 1 will see eight sides battling for four qualifying places for Part 2, where the teams from the EHF EURO 2024 will also join.

The clashes will also be played as double-headers, with the team scoring the largest number of goals over the two matches progressing to the next round.

Israel, the last team to progress, will face Slovakia, while Italy, the team that produced the biggest comeback in the Qualification Phase 1 are due to face Belgium, the team making their debut at the IHF Men’s World Championship in 2023.

Finland take on Lithuania, while Estonia face Ukraine, as the four qualified teams will make it to the Qualification Phase 2 – Part 2, where Spain, Montenegro, Czechia, Poland, North Macedonia, Georgia, Serbia, the Faroe Islands, Switzerland, Romania, Greece and Bosnia Herzegovina currently await.

Six other teams will complete the pots before the end of the EHF EURO 2024.