Deja Vu, All Over Again: Norway, Portugal, Brazil and USA to Replay the 2023 Gjensidige Cup

The USA Men found out who and where they will play their group play matches at the 2025 Handball World Championships and due to a strange twist of fate it will be deja vu, all over again. This is because they will play Norway, Portugal and Brazil in Norway… just like they did in a warmup tourney prior to the 2023 Handball World Championships. This time, however, the matches will be played in Baerum (a suburb of Oslo), instead of Trondheim and these matches will count.

What are the chances of that? Well, it would be 1 out of 6 (Austria and Croatia (Pot 2) were already assigned to Porec and Zagreb) x (1 out of 8) x (1 out of 8) or 1 out of 384 or a 0.26% chance of occuring.

Tough Draw for the U.S.

As one of the lower ranked teams at the World Championships just about any draw is a tough draw. Realistically, beating any of the teams from pot 1 or pot 2 was always going to be a longshot, but there were some teams in pot 3 that the U.S. would match up well with.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Brazil is one of those teams and since they have good familiarity with the U.S. program they aren’t a team we can sneak up on. At the 2023 PANAM Games we lost to Brazil 40-27 (23-13) in the semifinals and at the 2023 Gjensidige Cup we lost 27-22 (12-10). A closer match, but also a friendly.

Further, having played both Norway and Portugal also at the 2023 Gjensidige cup we won’t be sneaking up on them either. Both of those sides won’t be surprised to find out that the U.S. actually has some guys that can play. They already know that and will even have some head to head match video to review as a reminder.

2023 Gjensidige Cup Final Standings

2023 Gjensidige Cup: Wikipedia (includes all results and links to match reports)

Beyond Group Play

Should the U.S. pull off an upset in Preliminary Group play they will stay in Oslo where their likely Main Round opponents from Group F would be Sweden, Spain and the winner of the Japan-Chile match.

If they finish 4th in Group E, however, they will head to Porec, Croatia for the President’s Cup play where they will play the 4th place finishers from Groups F, G and H. These opponents, barring a rash of upsets will likely be the losers of these preliminary round matchups

  • Japan vs Chile
  • Cuba vs Cape Verde
  • Argentina vs Bahrain

The potential for a mini Pan American group (USA, Chile, Cuba, Argentina) exists, but that remains to be seen. No team wants to go to the President’s Cup, but on the upside it could give the U.S. another crack at Chile, who they narrowly lost to in the bronze medal match at the PANAM Games and an opportunity to play NACHC rivals Cuba.