2020 Olympic Team Handball Competition Schedule, Results and Format

First an Important Note on the Time Difference to Japan and the Challenge it Presents

There are several website options for getting your Olympic handball information. However, with the Olympics taking place in Japan you might want to strategize when and where you get your information, particularly if you want to watch matches that were played while you were sleeping without knowing the result ahead of time.

Japan is 7 hours ahead of Central European Time (CET) and 13 hours ahead of US Eastern Time (US ET). For U.S. viewers handball matches will start in the evening and end in the morning. Depending on your time zone and sleep schedule you can easily watch some matches live, but others will be played while you are sleeping. So when you get up in the morning, you could immediately find out what happened while you were sleeping… You sure could. But, you could also just wait, avoid finding out the scores and watch some matches at your leisure. The choice is yours…

Olympic Handball Schedule and Results

With that in mind here are some websites where you can find the latest results and what matches are coming up along with some pros and cons for each website:

  • International Handball Federation (IHF): Men’s Tournament Women’s Tournament
    • The IHF has a comprehensive site, but if you don’t want to know the scores of already played matches it’s not a good place to avoid spoilers
  • Olympics Official Site: Link
    • Currently a bare bones site, but I’ll revisit it as we get closer to the games
  • NBC: Handball Homepage Schedule (Men and Women)
    • The NBC site needs to updated, but it does have one big advantage: The schedule page automatically adjusts the competition schedule to your time zone. It also looks like portions of it will be spoiler free, but we’ll need to check on this as we get closer to the games.
  • Wikipedia: Men’s Competition Women’s Competition
    • I’m a huge fan of the Wikipedia pages for major handball competitions as most of the information I’m looking for is all in one place at an easy to navigate website without a lot of bells and whistles.
  • Team Handball News
    • I will post a daily schedule of each day’s upcoming matches with a few notes previewing the matches along with the betting handicap (i.e. point spread)
    • Depending on NBC’s setup I will also post a direct link to match replays if available
    • As always, I will keep the website spoiler free of results (for around 24-36 hours anyway)

Competition Format

Both the Men’s and Women’s competition have the same relatively straightforward competition format.

  • GROUP PLAY: The 12 teams are divided into two groups of 6 and play a round robin
    • Matches during group play can end in a draw
    • The top 4 teams from each group advance to an 8 team knockout tourney
    • Rules for ranking and tiebreakers:
      1. Points (2 for a win; 1 for a draw)
      2. Head-to-head points
      3. Head-to-head goal difference
      4. Head-to-head goals scored
      5. All matches goal difference
      6. All matches goals scored
      7. Draw lots
    • Matches during the knockout tourney cannot end in a draw
      • If the match is tied at the end of regulation two five minute periods of Extra Time are played
      • If the match is still tied after Extra Time another Extra Time (two five minute periods is played)
      • If the match is still tied after the 2nd Extra Time a penalty shoot out with similar rules to soccer is played until there is a winner.
    • Quarterfinal pairings
      • One half of the bracket will be (A1 vs B4) and (B2 vs A3)
      • The other half of the bracket will be (B1 vs A4) and (A2 vs B3)
    • The quarterfinal winners advance to the semifinals.
    • The semifinal winners play for gold and the semifinal losers play for bronze.

Note: Throughout Group Play and the Knockout Tournaments, the men and women alternate playing days and rest days.