World Championship play-off pairs drawn on Saturday

NEWS REPORT: 10 places remain open for Europe at the World Championship 2019 in Germany and Denmark, with nine to be decided in the play-offs – for which the pairings will be drawn on Saturday in Zagreb

18 teams will be drawn into nine play-off pairings on the path to the World Championship 2019. Photo: Sasa Pahic Szabo

While either Sweden or Spain will book a direct ticket to the World Championship 2019 in Germany and Denmark on the final weekend of the EHF EURO 2018, 18 nations will contest the play-offs – from which nine nations will proceed to the final tournament. At 16:00 local time in Zagreb, the draw to determine the nine play-off pairings will be conducted, right after the closing press conference of the EHF EURO 2018 (live on www.ehf-euro.com and the EHF EURO Youtube Channel).

When the draw takes place in Arena Zagreb, the decision as to which team will qualify directly for the World Championship will already have been made: If either Sweden or Spain make it to the final, they clinch the berth; if these sides clash in the final or the bronze-medal match, the winner of this game will secure the place. In case the decision has to wait until the final day, a lot labelled ‘Sweden/Spain’ will be part of pot 1.

In contrast with previous EHF EURO events, only one team at the EHF EURO 2018 will qualify directly for the Men’s World Championship 2019. The two hosts are qualified automatically, as are reigning world champions France.

Aside from Spain/Sweden – and Denmark, Germany and France – all the teams that made it to the main round will be in pot 1. Iceland are also in pot 1, as the team ranked 13th at the EHF EURO 2018.

Pot 2 will include those teams ranked in places 13 to 16 at the EHF EURO, and the winners of the first qualification stage, which concluded two weeks ago. As the EHF Court of Handball has opened legal proceedings following the match between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Switzerland, and the status of this match is still pending, one lot will include both nations (BIH/SUI).

For each pairing, one team is drawn from each pot. There is no seeding list or ranking, and only the aggregate winners of those nine play-off pairings will book their ticket to the World Championship 2019. The play-offs will be played in home-and-away format in June.

The host cities for the first ever Men’s World Championship co-hosted by two countries are Copenhagen, Herning (Denmark), Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne (Germany).
The following are the pots for the draw on Saturday:

Pot 1: Spain/Sweden, Czech Republic, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Iceland
Pot 2: Austria, Montenegro, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Switzerland/Bosnia-Herzegovina

written by Björn Pazen / cg