Draw sets up balanced groups at the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship
13 Apr. 2022
After a four-year hiatus, caused by the cancellation of the 2020 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship, the Women’s Junior World Championship will return in June, as 32 teams will travel to Slovenia to challenge for the title.
The next step on the road towards the throw-off of the 23rd edition of the competition was made on Wednesday, 13 April, as the draw for the preliminary round took place at Hotel Evropa, in Celje – one of the three cities that will host the 2022 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship.
The 32 teams, including one Wild Card side, which will be determined later by the International Handball Federation (IHF), were allocated into four pots of eight teams each.
The draw was conducted by the Chairman of the IHF Commission of Organising and Competition (COC), Per Bertelsen, who was assisted by Anja Frešer, a former Slovenian handball player and the General Manager of the Slovenia women’s national teams, and Janko Požežnik, a former referee and now delegate as well as lecturer for the IHF Playing Rules and Referees Commission (PRC) – and it produced interesting clashes between several powerhouses at this level.
After the teams from pots 1, 3 and 4 were drawn, hosts Slovenia had the prerogative to assign themselves a group of their choice. They chose to go into Group F, joining Germany, Chile and Mexico.
“It is an exotic group, which we chose because we thought it suited us best,” said Anja Frešer after the draw.
The most balanced group in the competition is Group D, where France, Norway, Brazil and the Republic of Korea will battle for one of the two main round spots.
Both Norway, the runners-up at the last edition of the IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship, and the Republic of Korea, the 2018 bronze medallists, have previously won the competition, while France secured the silver medal in 2012.
Reigning champions Hungary were drawn into Group H, where they will face a start which should suit them, as they will play against Poland, Egypt and the United States of America – the latter team making their comeback in the competition for the first time since 1981.
Rookies India will face Slovakia, Netherlands and Japan in Group A, while another team that will make their debut, the Islamic Republic of Iran, were drawn into Group B, alongside Sweden, Tunisia and Guinea, the third team to make their debut at the IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship.
The top two sides in each group will qualify for the main round, with pairings of two joining each other in the alphabetical order from the preliminary round groups (i.e., the Group A teams will face the Group B teams, Group C will play Group D, etc).
Subsequently, the top two teams in each main round group will progress to the quarter-finals, as the other two sides will play the placement matches.
The 23rd IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship will take place in Celje, Laško and Velenje between 22 June and 3 July.
Group A: India, Slovakia, Netherlands, Japan
Group B: Sweden, Islamic Republic of Iran, Tunisia, Guinea
Group C: Denmark, Argentina, Montenegro, Wild Card team
Group D: France, Norway, Brazil, Republic of Korea
Group E: Romania, Czech Republic, Angola, Paraguay
Group F: Germany, Slovenia, Chile, Mexico
Group G: Croatia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Austria
Group H: Hungary, Poland, Egypt, United States of America
Photo: Slovenia Handball Federation / Slavko Kolar