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Qatar are hosting the 24th Men's Handball World Championship

The 24th Men's World Championship in handball will start in Qatar on 15 January 2015. This competition have a 77-year history. The first World Championship was staged in Berlin, Germany in 1938 and the most recent was held in Spain in 2013. We should expect an 18 days full of dynamic action from the 24 competing nations. The hosts Qatar and the World Champions Spain automatically qualified for the tournament, while the remaining 22 national teams played qualifications. It wasn't an easy job, for example the former World Champions Romania, did not qualify. Three national teams (Germany, Iceland and Saudi Arabia) were chosen as replacements after Australia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates withdrew from the tournament. France are top favorites to win the tournament according to William Hill. However, they have strong competition in Spain, Denmark and Croatia.

Qatar 2015 Handball


France had their "golden generation" in 2013. After two gold medals at the Olympics tournamenst in 2008 and 2012) and two World Championships titles in 2009 and 2011, France disappointed at the 2013 WC and for the first time since 2007 failed to reach the semi-finals. But the success on the last EURO in Denmark showed the power of the team leaded by the coach Claude Onesta. France went through the tournament without any problems and virtually crushed hosts Denmark in the final. Nikola Karabatic was awarded as MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the tournament. In the meantime some players (Guillaume Gille and Didier Dinart) ended their careers in the national team. But Onesta integrated few previously unknown talents such as Alix Nyokas and Valentin Porte, who showed an outstanding performance on the last European Championship, particularly in the semi-finals and final. William Accambray, Cedric Sorhaindo, goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, brothers Nikola and Luka  Karabatic are all excellent players. Of course, the key player is the veteran (almost 40-year-old) Jerome Fernandez. Coach Onesta biggest challenge will be to keep the motivation.

William Hill is offering 3.20 for France to win the tournament

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Spain became World Champions in 2013, for the second time after 2005. They won the title in great style. Never before had a team achieved such a clear victory in a WC final. They were leaded by the excellent coach Valero Rivera, the actual coach of hosts Qatar. His successor is Manoel Cadenas, known for his ability to form talents into stars, which he demonstrated for many years. At his first major tournament as national coach Cadenas led the national team to the bronze medal at the 2014 European Championship in Denmark. The Spaniards have world class players on all positions, first of all goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik from Vardar Skopje. I will also mention Viran Morros, Victor Tomas, Albert Rocas, Jorge Maqueda, Joan Canellas and Julen Aguinagalde. Their goal is to defend the title.

William Hill is offering 4.00 (3/1) for Spain to win the tournament

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Denmark will play their first major tournament without experienced coach Ulrik Wilbek. After almost 10 years as coach of the national team, he retired in April 2014. I think his absence is a big handicap for the Scandinavians. Wilbek was the soul and the heart of the national team. The experienced player Michael Knudsen also announced his retirement from the national team. However, the new coach Gudmundsson has good players again. It is dangerous for any national team to underestimate the Danes. The leader of the current team is Mikkel Hansen who plays for French Champions PSG. Hansen is an excellent player with big experience. Niklas Landin, Hans Lindberg, Lasse Svan and 2013 WCh top scorer Anders Eggert are also great players.

William Hill is offering 4.50 for Denmark to win the tournament

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Croatian national team won the bronze medal at three consecutive major tournaments. They succeeded in doing so at the 2012 ECh, 2012 Olympic games and 2013 World Championship. At the 2014 European Championship they reached the semi-finals again but lost against host Denmark and later were defeated by Spain in the match for the third place. Croatia were the World Champions in 2003 and they are always involved in the battle for medals. No team has reached as many semi-finals at major tournaments as Croatia. They are a mixture of experienced stars and numerous highly talented players. Coach Slavko Goluza composed a solid team and the key players are Ivan Cupic, Zlatko Horvat, Igor Vori, Marko Kopljar and Domagoj Duvnjak, as well as the goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic. I will also mention one more player - Igor Karacicvfrom Vardar Skopje. He is very skilled and smart player and could be a potential surprise in Qatar.

William Hill is offering 6.00 (5/1) for Croatia to win the tournament

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The hosts Qatar should not be underestimated as they will have strong support from the fans. However, it will be a big surprise if they reach the semi-finals or even final. Iran and Bosnia, who secured their first appearances in the final tournaments, are among the outsiders, together with Chile, Argentina and Saudi Arabia, the poorest national teams.

All teams are divided in four groups. William Hill released the odds for group winners:


Group A Winner:

Spain - 1.36 (4/11)
Qatar - 5.00 (4/1)
Slovenia - 8.50 (15/2)
Brazil - 17.00 (16/1)
Belarus - 21.00 (20/1)
Chile - 101.00 (100/1)

Group B Winner:

Croatia - 1.12 (1/8)
Tunisia - 11.00 (10/1)
Macedonia - 15.00 (14/1)
Austria - 17.00 (16/1)
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 21.00 (20/1)
Iran - 101.00 (100/1)

Group C Winner

France - 1.36 (4/11)
Sweden - 5.50 (9/2)
Iceland - 7.00 (6/1)
Egypt - 21.00 (20/1)
Czech Republic - 26.00 (25/1)
Algeria - 51.00 (50/1)

Group D Winner

Denmark - 1.57 (4/7)
Poland - 3.75 (11/4)
Germany - 6.50 (11/2)
Russia - 13.00 (12/1)
Argentina - 51.00 (50/1)
Saudi Arabia - 101.00 (100/1)

William Hill have also released the odds for the top goalscorer. PSG star Mikkel Hansen is the main favorite, while Macedonian right-back Kire Lazarov, who played for Spanish Champions Barcelona, is just behind him. Look the odds:


Mikkel Hansen (Denmark) - 7.00 (6/1)
Kiril Lazarov (Macedonia) - 8.00 (7/1)
Anders Eggert (Denmark) - 9.00 (8/1)
Dragan Gajic (Slovenia) - 9.00 (8/1)
Ivan Cupic (Croatia) - 9.00 (8/1)
Joan Canellas (Spain) - 9.00 (8/1)
Siarhei Rutenka (Belarus) - 9.00 (8/1)
Niclas Ekberg (Sweden) - 12.00 (11/1)
Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (Iceland) - 13.00 (12/1)
Filip Jicha (Czech Republic) - 15.00 (14/1)
Michael Guigou (France) - 15.00 (14/1)