Six groups set for Men’s EHF EURO 2024
The next milestone on the road to the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 in Germany was reached in Düsseldorf on Wednesday. Exactly eight months before the start of the 10-28 January European Championship, the six four-team groups for the preliminary round have been drawn.
Reigning European champions Sweden open their title defence in preliminary round group E in Mannheim against Netherlands, Bosnia Herzegovina, and EHF EURO debutants Georgia.
The 2018 and 2020 champions Spain face Austria, Croatia, and Romania in group B in Mannheim in this first phase of the tournament.
World champions Denmark, who underlined their strong form by winning the EHF EURO Cup 2024 less than two weeks ago, are up against Portugal, Czech Republic and final tournament newcomers Greece in group F in Munich.
And hosts Germany are set to meet France, North Macedonia, and Switzerland in their group A. Germany’s encounter with their southern neighbours Switzerland is the highly anticipated opening match in Düsseldorf on 10 January, when organisers try to set a word record attendance for a handball match with up to 50,000 spectators. Group A matches will also be played in Berlin.
Germany had already been seeded in group A; Croatia in group B in Mannheim; Iceland in group C in Munich; Norway in group D in Berlin; Sweden in group E in Mannheim, and Denmark in group F in Munich.
Hamburg and Cologne will be the main round venues, with Cologne’s LANXESS arena hosting the final weekend of the competition.
The basic playing schedule is available below; the exact playing times will be announced in due time. The top two teams in each group advance to the main round.
The groups for the preliminary round were drawn in a stylish ceremony in the MERKUR Spiel-Arena, including legendary stars of the game like Denmark’s Lars Christiansen, France’s Joel Abati, Spain’s Julen Aguinagalde, and Dominik Klein of hosts Germany.
Christiansen and Aguinagalde are both two-time EHF EURO champions – Christiansen in 2008 and 2012, Aguinagalde in 2018 and 2020. Meanwhile, Abati was Olympic champion in 2008 and Klein won the 2007 IHF Men’s World Championship in 2007, also hosted by Germany.
On the fringe of the draw ceremony, the official mascot was revealed and the new EHF EURO trophy was presented – a redesigned version of the old trophy that served for the past 30 years. The new trophy has a similar shape, but a fresh new look.
photos © 2023 Kenny Beele