The Race for Olympic Qualification Tournament Slots

Current Status (22 Jan 2020)

The IHF recently posted an article highlighting the status of Olympic Qualification and specifically, the Olympic Qualification Tournaments that will take place 17-19 April.

It’s kind of complicated as to how the dominoes fall, so I’ve created a chart (above) that shows which nations could be placed in each tournament based on how high each nation will place at either the European or African Championships which are both ongoing.

A few notes of explanation.

Hierarchy of Qualification

There are several ways to qualify for the Olympics, but a nation can only qualify once and there is a hierarchy to that qualification.

  1. Host Nation (Japan)
  2. World Champion (Denmark)
  3. Continental Champion
    1. Asia (Bahrain)
    2. Pan America (Argentina)
    3. Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Angola)
    4. Europe (Spain, Croatia, Norway or Slovenia)
  4. Olympic Qualification Tourney (6 nations from 3 Tourneys)
    1. Seeded based on WC places 2-7
      • 2nd (Norway)
      • 3rd (France)
      • 4th (Germany)
      • 5th (Sweden)
      • 6th (Croatia)
      • 7th (Spain)
      • 8th – Egypt
      • 9th – Brazil
    2. Seeded based on 2nd or 3rd at Continental Championship

So with this hierarchy, there is a domino effect. As an example if Norway were to win the European Championship they will qualify as a continental champion and they will be removed from the Olympic Qualification Tourney seeding. And, then every nation on the list would move up one spot and slide over to another tournament based on the arrows indicated.

2020 African Championships

Four nations (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Angola) have already qualified for the semifinals. On Wednesday, 22 January they will play for semifinal seeding. On Friday, 24 January the semifinals will be played and on Sunday, 26 January the Finals will be played.

Africa was the 2nd best continent at the 2019 World Championships so Africa has 2 slots in the Olympic Qualification Tournaments. Egypt was also the 8th place team at the World Championships, so they might be in a position to secure an OQT slot through that path. But, that path will only open up if Norway, Croatia or Spain win the European Championships. If that happens, it’s possible that Africa could end up with 3 nations qualifying for an OQT. One scenario would be Tunisia winning the title and qualifying automatically, Egypt finishing second (securing the WC slot) and then Angola and Algeria securing the Africa 2 and Africa 3 slots.

2020 European Championships

A lot is still up in the air with the European Championships. I’ll try and break down some of the key scenarios.

Dominoes or No Dominoes: 3 of the 12 nations still playing (Norway, Croatia and Spain) have WC slots and if they win the title they will move those dominoes. 4 nations in Main Round Group II (Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal and Iceland) do not have a WC slot and if one of these nations wins the title there will be no dominoes. (Sorry Egypt; Sorry Brazil)

What different places (final ranking) could secure the Europe 2 and Europe 3 slots? You might think this would be a simple determination, but there are actually several possibilities.

  • 2nd, 3rd or 4th place: Slovenia could secure the Europe 2 position by qualifying for the semifinals and then failing to win the championship
  • 5th/6th place: Portugal has secured the Europe 2 or Europe 3 position by finishing 3rd in Main Round Group II. They will play Germany for 5th place, but since German has a WC slot the match result wouldn’t matter
  • 7th/8th place: If Slovenia wins the title then the Europe 3 slot will go to the 7th place team. Since the 7th place team, Sweden, has already qualified for an OQT via the World Championship, the next ranked team (Austria) will get a slot as Europe 3.

Brazil’s Situation

Brazil will qualify for OQT #1 if both of these events occur
– Norway, Croatia or Spain win the European Championship
– Egypt wins the African Championship

And, both of these events are quite possible so they will likely be doing some scoreboard watching on Sunday

Easy – Peasy Tournament #1

As usual, on paper, Tournament #1 is the place to be as it will only have 1 or 2 European nations fighting for 2 slots. France will surely be cheering on Norway to win the title so they can slide into that cup cake tourney. Seriously, here’s a possible tourney 2 lineup: France, Spain, Tunisia, Portugal. Nothing against Chile and S. Korea, but they just aren’t at the level of those side.

I will update this article as more results become known.