PHOTO: Ante Čizmić/Cropix

CROATIAN HANDBALL NATIONAL TEAM HAS REASON TO BE SATISFIED WITH THE DRAW

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After the Olympic Games in Paris and the victories over Austria, Germany, and Algeria, the draw for the handball EURO 2026 was held.

The draw for qualification for EURO 2026 was held in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen. Sweden (Malmö, Kristianstad), Norway (Oslo), and Denmark (Herning) will be the hosts. EURO 2026 will be held from 15 January to 01 February. Handball legends Lars Christiansen and Thomas Mogensen from Denmark, Ljubo Vranješ who wore the jersey of Sweden, and Haavard Tvedten from Norway participated in the draw.

There are eight groups in the qualifiers for EURO 2026, and the two best teams from each group go to the EURO, as well as the best four third-placed teams and their matches against the last scheduled teams from the groups will not be counted. This means that EUOR 2026 will be attended by the hosts Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the defending champions France, and 20 teams that qualify through the qualifiers. Let’s mention that the first-mentioned national teams will play the Euro Cup, while the others will play the qualifiers.

Croatia is in group 5, and opponents are the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The most powerful opponent is, definitely, the Czech Republic. The qualifications start in November 2024, and two rounds will be played. The continuation of the qualifications is in March 2025, and the last matches of the qualifications are played in May of the same year. Let’s mention that Kosovo and Serbia were in the same group, but the eastern neighbors were moved to group 4.

Also, it is interesting that the hosts of the IHF World Cup are Croatia, Denmark, and Norway, and the latter are the hosts of EURO 2026. Very interesting! Maybe handball, globally, needs enormous and crucial changes. But we’ll talk about that at another time.

EURO 2026 QUALIFICATION GROUPS:
GROUP 1:
Slovenia, North Macedonia, Lithuania, Estonia
GROUP 2: Hungary, Montenegro, Slovakia, Finland
GROUP 3: Iceland, Greece, BiH, Georgia
GROUP 4: Spain, Serbia, Italy, Latvia
GROUP 5: CROATIA, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg
GROUP 6: Netherlands, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Kosovo
GROUP 7: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey
GROUP 8: Portugal, Poland, Romania, Israel

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