Future stars of women’s handball set to shine in Slovenia
Future stars of women’s handball will get their first taste of playing at a European Championship when they gather in Slovenia for the Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019 from 1-11 August.
A total of 16 national teams will battle it out for the medals, with matches being played in two arenas in Celje: the Zlatorog hall – the home base of VELUX EHF Champions League contenders RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko which was also used for the Men’s EHF EURO 2004 – and the Golovec hall.
Not only medals are at stake
The top-two teams from the four groups in the preliminary round (1-4 August) will advance to the main round (6-7 August). Again, the top-two teams from both groups will stay in contention as they qualify for the semi-finals (9 August) and ultimately the medal matches (11 August).
However, there are not only medals at stake in Slovenia as the nine best-ranked teams from the W17 EHF EURO 2019 will qualify for the Women’s Youth (U-18) World Championship 2020 in China.
Also, the nations ranked between 1st and 14th will earn a berth for both the W17 and the W19 EHF EURO 2021. Nations ranked 15th and 16th will be relegated to the W17 and W19 EHF Championships 2021, depending on their registration for 2021.
Hard to single out title favourites
It is hard to single out any title favourites for the W17 EHF EURO 2019 as the national teams from the 2002 generation have not met each other before at a European or World Championship.
However, five teams competing in Slovenia also participated in last week’s European Youth Olympic Festival in Azerbaijan, where France beat Netherlands in the final and Hungary grabbed the bronze. Romania and Spain also played at the EYOF.
France will play against Russia, Montenegro and hosts Slovenia in Group D, while the Dutch side is up against Germany, Denmark and Portugal in Group C.
Hungary meet Romania, Slovakia and Austria in Group B, and Norway are set to take on Spain, Sweden and Croatia in Group A.
No nation has dominated this competition in the past as the last four editions produced four different champions: Russia (in 2011), Sweden (’13), Denmark (’15) and Germany (’17).
Both Russia and Denmark have won the title three times in total, but no other nation has lifted the trophy more than once in the 13 tournaments held since its inauguration in 1992.
TEXT: Eric Willemsen / EHF