2021 IHF Men’s Handball World Championships (How to Watch, Odds, Previews and Predictions)

Croatia: Runners Up at the 2020 Euros they are my pick to win the title. They looked solid last week vs Spain, a 31-28 victory, despite missing some key players who should be back in time for the Main Round.

The 2021 IHF Men’s World Championships start today (Wednesday, 13 January) in Egypt. Here’s some info on how to watch, what the odds are, some links to previews and a few predictions on who will in it all.

How to Watch

How you watch the World Championship will depend on where you live and whether there is a TV contract there.

USA Web Streaming: In the U.S., ESPN reportedly will broadcast 31 matches on its streaming platform ESPN+. ESPN+ is available via several streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire. However, the announcement regarding ESPN+ has been removed from the USA Team Handball website and ESPN+ has not updated their schedule to include handball matches. (I’ve been told that this is just a temporary development and I will update when I hear more.)

IHF 2021 Men’s WC YouTube PageLink
The IHF will be web streaming every match on YouTube, but these matches won’t be available if your country has a TV contract. This article lists every country that has a TV contract.

Pirated Web Streams: Of course, there are other options available. As sure as the sun comes up tomorrow there will be dubious websites offering live streams of marginal quality. I wouldn’t recommend downloading anything from these sites or paying them anything.

IHF YouTube Site (with VPN): One can also use a VPN service and login from a nation without a TV contract to access the IHF stream. I personally use VPN Nord, but there are other options available. Using VPN is not an ideal solution and I prefer to watch via a paid service like ESPN+. It doesn’t cost that much and you get a more reliable picture. But, if I can’t pay to watch… I don’t feel very guilty about using VPN. And, since some WC matches won’t be available via ESPN+ I will be using VPN to watch them. For more on how to use VPN read this article: Link

For the preliminary round the match schedule typically has 1 late afternoon match, 4 early evening matches and 3 later evening matches. In the U.S. the timing of those 3 viewing opportunities are 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM and 2:30 PM (US ET).

Odds for the Competition

All odds are courtesy of Unibet.

Tourney Format: The preliminary round consists of 8 groups of 4 nations. The top 3 of each preliminary group advances to the Main Round. Groups A and B form Main Round Group I, while Groups C and D form MR Group II, Groups E and F form MR Group III Matches and Groups G and H form MR Group IV. 4th place teams will play in the President’s Cup. Matches from the Preliminary Round (among advancing nations) also count in the Main Round. The top 2 teams from each Main Round Group will then advance to the Quarterfinals.

Preliminary Groups A and B / Main Round Group I

In Group A Germany and Hungary are the clear favorites while Cape Verde and Uruguay should battle for 3rd place. Spain is the big favorite in Group B while Brazil, Tunisia and Poland are relatively even and will battle for the other two slots. For a more in-depth preview check out Chris O’Reilly’s Group A preview at Stregspiller.com.

Spain is all a big favorite to win Group I while Germany and Hungary are expected to battle for 2nd place. Germany’s roster is missing several athletes that chose to not attend the Championship and it will be interesting to see how their replacements perform. Brazil is an outsider, but has been known to surprise in the past. A key factor, however, may be how much COVID has impacted their roster.

Preliminary Groups C and D / Main Round Group II

Croatia and Denmark are big favorites in Group C and D, respectively. I won’t be surprised, though, if Japan knocks off Qatar. With the Olympics coming up, I think Japan has extra motivation to be ready for this tournament. In Group D, I also see Bahrain as capable of beating Argentina.

Really hard not to see Denmark and Croatia advancing in this Group and I like Croatia to also beat Denmark, but that may depend on whether Karacic is healthy by the 2nd week of the tournament.

Preliminary Groups E and F / Main Round Group III

Both these Groups have 2 favorites and 2 outsiders. The favorites will battle for points to take into the main round, while the outsiders fight to avoid the President’s Cup. The Norway – France match starts the competition and could decide who wins Main Round Group III.

I like Norway to win this Group, but I won’t be shocked if France loses to Portugal which has their number in recent tournaments. The only thing that has me guessing is Portugal’s recent defeat to an Iceland team without Aron Palmarsson. It might well be a 3 way between those teams (France, Portugal and Iceland battling for that 2nd QF slot.

Preliminary Groups G nd H / Main Round Group IV

In Group G, it’s hard not to see Egypt winning, but I think late entry N Macedonia can pip Sweden for 2nd place. Sweden is the big favorite in Group H, but I think it’s actually a 3 way fight for the other 2 spots. Yes, S Korea could surprise here. They still have a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and they may be more ready than other teams because of that.

Egypt didn’t look particularly impressive in their opening match vs Chile, but I still think that hosting the tournament gives them the edge here. I also think Slovenia, which seems to be pretty healthy will join them in the Quarter Finals.

Odds to Win the Championship

Previews and Predictions

  • (Un)Informed Handball Hour Podcast (Part 1: Hipster Teams): Link
  • (Un)Informed Handball Hour Podcast (Part 2: Main Teams): Link
  • Team Handball News Podcast (Betting Focused Review): Link
  • Chris O’Reilly Preview at Stregspiller: Link

Here’s a compilation of “expert” predictions.

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