With the professional leagues over for the season the European Handball nations are playing (or have played) qualifiers for the 2007 Women’s World Championship in France (December) and the Men’s Euro 2008 Championship in Norway (January).
The Women’s qualifiers are over with the major news being 3 time Olympic Champion Denmark failing to qualify in their 2 game playoff versus Ukraine. Denmark managed only a draw match 30-30 at home and Ukraine beat the Danes 28-24 on the return leg. Denmark is also the home of the top Women’s club league, so there is sure to a lot of hand wringing about how the importing of foreign players into their league has damaged the Women’s program by hindering the development of home grown players. Several other matches were very close on aggregate, with Macedonia edging Belarus by 1 goal and Poland edging Serbia by 2. The 24 Women’s teams that have qualified are now complete and the draw will be later this month in Paris.
The Men’s qualifiers are only half-way over. Of particular note is Montenegro’s 2 goal away win in Portugal. Assuming they can hold serve at home, this new nation will qualify for their first major tournament.