European Handball Championship 2024 – Favorites and Bookmakers
The 2024 European Men’s Handball Championship is set to take place in Germany from January 10-28, offering a coveted Olympic spot for Paris 2024.
Defending champions Sweden aim to retain their continental crown after a narrow 27-26 victory against Spain in the 2022 final. Among the 24 competing teams, there is a chance for the winners or the top-ranked team to secure a spot for Paris 2024, provided France or Denmark, already qualified, secure the gold.
For the first time in the tournament’s history, Germany is hosting the European Men’s Handball Championship in six cities – Düsseldorf, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim, and Munich. The Lanxess Arena in Cologne will host the semi-finals, the final, and the third-place match. The hosts are eyeing a third European title after victories in 2004 and 2016.
Sweden holds the record with five wins at the European Men’s Handball Championship, including the inaugural championship in 1994. France follows with three titles, while Spain, Denmark, and Germany each have two. Despite five final defeats, Spain boasts the most tournament medals with nine.
European Handball Championship 2024: Format
The championship format includes a preliminary round with 24 teams in six groups, with the top two from each group advancing to the main round. The main round, with two groups of six each, determines the semi-finalists in Cologne. The top-ranked team without a quota for Paris 2024 will secure a place, and the remaining teams will be determined at the IHF 2024 Olympic qualification tournaments in March.
European Handball Championship 2024: Favorites and Key Players
Defending champions Sweden are among the favorites for this year’s European Championship. Jim Gottfridsson, named the tournament’s MVP two years ago, remains the biggest star of the Swedish national team at 31 years old.
Barcelona’s left winger Hampus Wanne, a key member of Sweden’s latest European title, is enjoying another superb season with the 11-time Champions League winners, leading them in both their Champions League group and domestic competition.
Denmark, aiming to improve on their third-place finish from 2022 where they lost 29-25 to Spain in the semi-finals, won a hat-trick of world titles last year and are certainly one of the teams to beat in Germany.
Last season’s European Handball Championship MVP, Simon Pytlick, has just returned from an ankle injury in Flensburg-Handewitt after a two-month absence and is in the Danish squad. Mathias Gidsel, MVP and top scorer at the 2023 World Cup, continues his impressive performances in this season’s Bundesliga for Füchse Berlin with 141 goals in 18 games.
Three-time IHF World Player of the Year Mikkel Hansen returned to the national team in November after a ten-month absence due to stress symptoms. Hansen, now 36, is considered one of the greatest handball players of all time and still plays a valuable role for the team.
Olympic champions France, led by another three-time IHF World Player of the Year Nikola Karabatić, are once again among the main favorites. Karabatić, turning 40 in April, will end his career at the Olympics in Paris in 2024, where he will try to win his fourth Olympic gold medal. Before that, he is targeting a fourth European title after previous successes in 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Barcelona trio Dika Mem, Tim N’Guessan, and Melvyn Richardson travel to Germany full of confidence as their team continues to dominate this season. Richardson is the top scorer in the Spanish league with 84 goals in 15 games, while Mem is the third top scorer in the Champions League this season.
Spain narrowly missed out on a third straight gold two years ago, but the ‘Hispanics’ extended their streak of winning medals at the European Championships to five. If they want to extend that streak to six, a lot depends on superstar playmaker Alex Dujshebaev, his brother Daniel, and Barcelona goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas.
In the battle for bronze at the 2023 World Cup, Spain edged out Sweden 39-36. And it will not be a surprise if the consistent Spaniards find themselves on the podium again.
Two-time world runners-up Norway and hosts Germany are also among serious challengers at this European Championship.
European Handball Championship 2024: Groups
The groups for the 2024 championship are:
- Group A (Düsseldorf and Berlin): North Macedonia, Germany, Switzerland, France
- Group B (Mannheim): Spain, Austria, Romania, Croatia
- Group C (Munich): Hungary, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia
- Group D (Berlin): Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Faroe Islands
- Group E (Mannheim): Sweden, Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia
- Group F (Munich): Denmark, Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece
The best online bookmakers will have an excellent offer throughout the duration of the tournament. Most bookmakers give Denmark the best chance to win this tournament. The odds that the Danes will win the European gold are 2.00.
After them, the closest favorites are France, Sweden, and Spain. If the bookies are to be believed, the French and Swedes have equal chances for gold (odds 6.00), while the Spaniards are given slightly fewer chances (odds 8.00).
Men’s EHF EURO 2024 – Best Bookmakers
How to Watch?
The event will be broadcast worldwide, with details of official partners and streaming platforms to be announced. EHFTV.com, the official channel of the European Handball Federation, will show selected matches and highlights with possible geographical restrictions.