It became clear in Thursday’s draw. Norway has teams in both classes for the first time.
This is how the Olympic groups for men will be:
A: Norway, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Argentina
B: Denmark (defending champion), Sweden, Portugal, Japan, Egypt, Bahrain
There is tough opposition for the Norwegian handball boys. Spain is a team Norway has struggled against for a number of years.
– It was a tough draw, there is no doubt about that, says national team manager Christian Berge to Dagbladet, before he continues.
– We get Spain from pot five, as well as Argentina who have been good, so these are really tough matches.
Norway’s group will thus meet the silver winner from the Olympics in Rio in 2016 (France), as well as the bronze winner from the same tournament (Germany). Denmark is the reigning Olympic champion.
As for Spain, they can hit the table with having recently defeated France in the bronze final of the World Cup finals in Egypt earlier in 2021.
In the final, Denmark became a number too big for Sweden, and thus enters the Olympic tournament as the reigning Olympic and world champion.
Spain are also reigning European champions. They secured that triumph by beating Croatia in the final of the tournament in 2020.
In the group, as I said, you will also find Argentina and Brazil. It was the two teams that fought for the title title as South American champions in 2020. It was Argentina that finally emerged victorious.
Even though the group is tough, the national team manager is clear that he will not change any of his plans.
– In an Olympics, there are tough teams anyway. It is the best nations in the world that are there. We were prepared for a tough draw, and then it might have been more than tough, says Berge.
Norway’s women have a significantly better group than men.
The handball girls meet the Netherlands, Montenegro, Japan, South Korea and Angola in the Olympics
Japan could choose which group they want to play in. The International Handball Federation (IHF) chose to give them the advantage of hosting the Olympics.
The Olympic tournaments are played from 24 July to 8 August with matches for each gender every other day. The men start up the day after the Olympic opening.
Twelve teams in each class participate in the Tokyo Games. The top four nations from each pool advance to the quarterfinals.
Norway recently went to the Olympics for both sexes through qualifying games. The handball boys did it without difficulty over three games in Montenegro. In the same place, the far more meritorious women’s team redeemed a ticket with a cry of distress.
The Norwegian teams go to Japan well in advance. The preliminary departure date is set for 12 July.
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