2007 Men’s World Championships Draw

Last Friday, 14 July 2006, the draw for the Men’s World Championship in Germany was held in Berlin http://ihf.handball-wm-2007.de/front_content.php?idcat=57&idart=340


The Group of Death: As Team Handball is more a case of have’s and have not’s (when compared to soccer), this is a little bit of an exaggeration. Essentially, it means which group has ended up with 3 European teams (plus Tunisia). Those two Groups are Group B in Madgeburg and Group E in Kiel. As Ukraine is arguably the weakest European team, I’ll classify Group E as the Group of Death. Look for the loser of the Hungary – Norway matchup to be bitterly resigned to the President’s Cup.

Pan-American Region Slighted:

Pan American Region Slighted: The draw process called for performance rows 4,3, and 2 to first be placed in groups by a random draw. Then as the host country, Germany, got to select which of the 6 groups it wanted for the opening round. And in the opinion of German Head Coach Heiner Brand, Group C with Poland, Brazil and Argentina was viewed as the easiest group. A slight to be sure, but also arguably, this is an excellent draw for Brazil and Argentina. Beating Germany in Berlin will be difficult, but either team beating Poland is a distinct possibility. Poland’s recent performances on the International Stage have not been sterling. At the 2006 European Championships they placed 10th only managing 1 win (against Ukraine) and 1 tie (against Switzerland) to go along with 4 losses Slovenia(33-29), Spain(34-25), France (31-21), and Germany(32-24). Additionally, they had to come from behind to beat Greece on aggregate in a 2 game series to qualify for the World Championships. Both Brazil and Argentina can be optimistic about their chances to advance. And the Pan Am region will be cheering them on, as a 9th place finish will secure another bid for region in 2009. To secure 9th place they would either need to finish in 4th place (out of 6 teams) in their main round pool- thus qualifying for the quarter finals or finish in 5th place and win the cross-over game for 9th place.

Greenland: Greenland is in pool A and will play Tunisia, Slovenia, and Kuwait. A victory against Tunisia or Slovenia would be epic. Greenland’s best chance for a victory in the opening round will be Kuwait, the Asian Champion.

Australia Draws Tough Bracket: Australia will play in Pool B against 3 European teams: France, Iceland and Ukraine. A victory against any of those teams is unlikely and placing 2nd in the pool would be a major shock. Australia, as the Oceania’s best team has a relatively easy route for qualifying for the World Championships, but a much more difficult route for Olympic Qualification. Because the Oceania region is small and weaker, the Oceania representative must accomplish the following to qualify for the Olympics
– Place 1st-7th at the World Championships OR
– Place 8th- 12th at the World Champions AND place 1st or 2nd at an Olympic Qualification tournament http://www.handballaustralia.org.au/

President’s Cup: Unlike recent World Cup formats, teams that are eliminated in the opening round will not fly home immediately. Instead the 12 eliminated teams (2 from each group) will be divided into 4 new pools of 3 teams each. Two pools for the 3rd place teams and 2 pools for the 4th place teams. Each team will play the other two teams in their pool and then will cross over for placement. This format means that each team will have the opportunity to play against the world’s best in the opening round and then have the opportunity to see how they stack up against the other developing nations. Major kudos for the IOC adding the President’s Cup. http://www.handball-wm-2007.de/front_content.php?idcat=25