16 teams compete for final World Championship spots

Adrian Costeiu, Björn Pazen

Eight spots will be up for grabs for the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship this week, as phase 2 part 2 of the European qualifiers takes place this week.

The 16 teams still in the hunt for a berth at the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship in Poland and Sweden next January will face off twice, with the first seven games scheduled for Wednesday, 13 March.

The winners of each tie will be determined based on the final aggregate scores of both legs. All matches will be streamed live on EHFTV.

  • after scoring the most goals in phase 2 part 1, 66, against Switzerland, Portugal will look to avenge the 32:31 loss against Netherlands in the group phase of EHF EURO 2022
  • Slovenia face Serbia in their first competitive match since 2013, as Slovenia’s new coach, Uros Zorman, hopes to extend his winning streak after winning the first two games in his position against Italy
  • Spanish coach Xavi Sabate will make his competitive debut on the Czech Republic’s bench, facing a familiar foe on the other bench, North Macedonia’s Kiril Lazarov for a place at the World Championship. The Macedonians eliminated the Czech Republic in a 56:55 nail-biter in qualification for Germany 2017
  • either Montenegro, who played at the World Championship for the last time in 2013, or Greece, who took part only once, in 2005, will qualify for Poland/Sweden 2023
  • with an aggregate win against Finland, Croatia will seal their 15th consecutive World Championship berth, while Germany will make their 13th appearance in a row if they eliminate the Faroe Islands, who have reached this stage of qualification for the first time
  • the ninth spot for the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship has been awarded to Belgium after Russia was suspended from international competitions. Belgium sealed a 57:54 aggregate win against Slovakia to earn their first berth in a final tournament

Favourites look set to progress to the World Championship

Seven European teams have already earned safe passage to the final tournament of the 2023 IHF Men’s World Championship – hosts Poland and Sweden, titleholders Denmark, France, Norway, Spain and Belgium, who earned their maiden spot in the competition.

Familiar faces will meet in part 2 of the second phase of the Qualification play-offs, as powerhouses like Germany, Hungary and Croatia will be favoured to proceed to Poland/Sweden 2023, while Montenegro are eager to progress to the World Championship for the first time since 2013.

The most balanced tie looks to be between Slovenia and Serbia, while two of the surprise packages of the EHF EURO in 2020 and 2022, Portugal and Netherlands, meet in a crunch tie, as the latter side eyes their first World Championship ticket since 1961.

IHF Men’s 2023 World Championship Qualification Phase 2 Part 2, first leg

Wednesday, 13 March
Austria vs Iceland, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
Israel vs Hungary, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
Finland vs Croatia, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
Germany vs Faroe Islands, 18:15 CEST, live on EHFTV
Greece vs Montenegro, 18:15 CEST, live on EHFTV
Slovenia vs Serbia, 20:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
Czech Republic vs North Macedonia, 20:15 CEST, live on EHFTV

Thursday, 14 March
Portugal vs Netherlands, 20:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

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