So it’s back off to Serbia, land of Handball Fantasy, for the second handball Euro 2012 to be held there. It was the men earlier in the year and now it is the women. Norway are defending champions and favourites, as one might expect, and Handball Views remains even after its long break, ignorant and wildly inaccurate … but’s lets cast our eye over the upcoming championship.
Four preliminary groups of four (Groups A-D) contest the opening round with the last placed team being eliminated following this opening round robin. The top three from Groups A and B then enter Group I and the top three from C and D go into Group II. They then play three more games, one each against teams who qualified from the ‘other’ preliminary group. Points accrued against the five other teams in the Group are totalled – and the top two make in through to the semi finals.
This all makes a lot more sense once the tournament starts.
Norway qualified as Greatest Team on the Planet (TM) and by being holders. The other 15 had to actually qualify. Netherlands should have been hosts with an automatic spot but when they withdrew their spot was taken by the already-qualified Serbia.
Who will be knocked out first
Given the terrifyingly accurate record of Handball Views you might want to avoid betting your house on our opinion but we think Ukraine will be bottom of Group A, Sweden at the foot of a frighteningly close Group B, Croatia will exit Group C and Iceland bidding adieu from Group D.
Who will win the title
Norway. France will come second. Montenegro might rattle them a bit.
Where and when can I watch it?
It’s all LIVE on the EHF YouTube channel here. Matches start on 4 December and the final is on 16 December at 4pm UK.
Is Handball Views going to be covering it?
We’ll be trying to get ourselves near enough to a working computer with broadband to provide reviews of each day. As ever, your comments are appreciated!
How can I get in the mood?
You might want to compare the treatment given to promotion between the men’s and women’s tournaments. The top video is the song for the women’s; underneath it’s the men’s. Note that only one seems to want to show the sport first.
The Spanish season throws off in style on Saturday with Atlético Madrid taking on FC Barcelona in the Super Copa. Barcelona have taken the Super Cup 14 times and Madrid four (including three times as BM Cuidad Real). The boys in red and white are the current holders and they beat Barcelona in last season’s Copa del Rey – although Barcelona took the main domestic prize, the Asobal title. The bookies make Atlético very slight favourites to win both this match and the league, although it’s likely to boil down to how the two teams do in their head to head fixtures.
Atlético have had an interesting off season with both Didier Dinart and Luc Abalo heading to the newly-flush Paris but they’ve also captured the signature of Ivano Balic. Barcelona were a little quieter over the summer although it might be worth noting that 2002 World Player of the Year Arpad Šterbik joined them from Madrid although that was 10 years ago.
Obviously nobody knows what to expect in the first match of the season but my guess would be for a close game with some nice bits of niggle. The atmosphere should be good though: it’s being played in the 15,000 capacity Palacio Vistalegres. That’s the home of Atlético Madrid.