The 2020 EHF Men’s European Handball Championships start Thursday 9 January. Here’s some info on how to watch, what the odds are, and a few predictions on who will in it all.
How to Watch
All matches will be available for viewing on efhTV, the European Handball Federation (EHF) online web streaming platform. Availability, however, might be restricted in nations that have a TV network contract. Depending on how each contract is structured some matches on ehfTV might be geo-blocked in some countries.
In the U.S. the beIN Sports network has the TV rights and will be showing one match daily on a delayed basis starting Friday, 17 January at 8:00 PM (US ET). All matches will also be shown live on their web streaming platform beIN Sports Connect.
Some matches will also be shown live on their FREE channel, beIN Sports XTRA, which is available on the Roku Channel and “Over the Air” in 15 U.S. markets. More info: Link
Spoiler Free Links
As with other recent tournaments I will be posting links to the on demand videos for matches as they become available. And, I will be doing so with “spoiler free” posts. Hey, if you like watching games with the outcome known you’re more more than welcome to access other sites directly.
IMPORTANT STEPS TO FOLLOW FOR “SPOILER FREE” ON DEMAND VIDEO WATCHING:
1) Cover up the right half of your screen
2) Click on the desired “On Demand” video link in my daily preview post
3) Watch the short advertisement
4) Click on the full screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video
5) Enjoy the match “spoiler free”
Note: If you don’t follow these instructions you will be exposed to the menu on the right side of your screen that may include words like “Netherlands shocks Germany in Opener!” (I’m not saying that’s going to happen, just that if it did happen, you can bet there would be a headline stating that.) Also, remember that if you click out of full screen mode you should also cover up the right side since that menu will immediately appear.
Odds for the Competition (And Links to Previews)
All odds courtesy of Unibet: Link
Tourney Format: The European Championships have expanded from 16 to 24 teams. This means that several teams that often just missed out on qualification like the Netherlands, Latvia and Switzerland were able to book at ticket. In the preliminary stage the 24 teams have been divided up into six groups of four nations each. Only 2 teams will advance from each group… meaning half the teams will be sent home in the first few days of competition.
After the preliminary groups the top 2 teams from Groups A, B and C will form Main Round Group I and the top 2 teams from Groups D, E and F will form Main Round Group II. The top two teams from Groups I and II will then qualify for the semifinals.
Group A’s matches will take place in Graz, Austria and one can probably expect good crowds traveling from Croatia and Serbia. Croatia is an overwhelming favorite to advance while Serbia and Belarus will likely battle for the 2nd slot.
Stregspiller Group A Preview: Link
Group B’s matches will be in Vienna, Austria. This is arguably the weakest preliminary round group and appears to be set up to help ensure that one of the co-hosts, Austria, advances to the main round. Arguably, every side here stands a decent chance of making it to the Main Round… where they will be long shots to make the semifinals.
Stregspiller Group B preview: Link
Group C will be played in Trondheim, Norway and will be the only group without a host country or nearby pseudo-host. Spain and Germany are big favorites to advance, but the Netherlands and Latvia both might have something to say about that. The Netherlands Men have been waiting a long time to make a statement in a major competition while Latvia’s Dainis Kristopans is one of the world’s best right backs. If things do play out according to plan the Spain – Germany match scheduled for Saturday will be huge as that match will carry over to Main Round play. Heck, that match might even decide who advances to the semifinals.
Stregspiller Group C preview: Link
The top two teams from Groups A, B and C will make their way to Vienna for Main Round Group Play where on paper it will be a 3 way battle between Spain, Germany and Croatia for the two semifinal spots.
France and Norway are the favorites to advance but Portugal is an up and coming program. They even beat France 33-27 in a Euro qualification match. Which is a good thing in that they know they can topple France, but a bad thing in that sneaking up on France in the opening match seems unlikely. Barring a Portuguese surprise, the France – Norway match on Sunday, 12 January could have huge implications as it will carry forward into main round. France will be favored, but Norway will have the home crowd in Trondheim behind them.
Stregspiller Group D Preview: Link
Group E will be played in Malmo, Sweden which is just cross the bridge from Copenhagen, so it will a pseudo home court advantage for Denmark. As if, the reigning World Champions need extra help. Iceland, Hungary and Russia will battle for the second spot.
Stregspiller Group E Preview: Link
Group F will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden so the hosts are all but guaranteed to advance. Slovenia are solid favorites to be the #2, but Switzerland and Andy Schmid might have something to say about that.
Stregspiller Group F Preview: Link
Main Round Group II will take place in Malmo and should be really entertaining and compelling to watch. Four teams, Denmark, France, Sweden and Norway will battle for the 2 spots and there will be multiple key clashes every match day.
The oddsmakers favor Denmark and I don’t see a whole lot of reasons to disagree with them not winning it. Last January’s performance at the World Championships was one of the most dominating ever by a national team. I’m not predicting such a repeat performance, but even if they take it down a notch they should still win.
For 2nd place I will go with France. Nikola Karabatic is showing some age, but he’s more healthy than he was last year. That, coupled with quite the stable of young talent should see the French improve upon recent performances.
For 3rd place I’ll go with Germany. Perhaps they lack the name star to lead them to victory, but a team effort particularly on defense could well see them through.