- What: 2022 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship
- When: January 13-30, 2022
- Where: Co-hosted in two countries – Hungary and Slovakia
After clinching their second European Championship in three years, Spain is on a collision course with Denmark for the upcoming 2022 European Men’s Handball Championship. The Spanish won in 2018 and 2020 and are buoyed by two All-Stars from the 2020 team, goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas and right back Jorge Maqueda. However, beyond the Spaniards and the Danish, there are a handful of other teams looking to stake their claim as the best in the Handball world come January. Come check out our odds below on who you can expect to be in the final four at the end of January and who we think will be the last country left standing.
After back-to-back titles, Spain is the favorite (+350)
Coming off of consecutive European Championship victories in 2018 and 2020, Spain is the favorite to take home the crown again until someone else comes and knocks them off of their pedestal. Governed by the Royal Spanish Handball Federation, Spain is one of the most successful handball teams in the world, having won two World Championships in addition to being the reigning European Champions. In fact, they are the only team, aside from Sweden, to have successfully defended their European Championship title.
Their current squad is littered with talent and is a formidable foe for any team. Center back Raúl Entrerríos was first on the team in goals (621) and appearances (269), but retired recently. That said, the backs are buoyed by Maqueda (353 goals) and left-back Joan Cañellas. Another right-back, Alex Dujshebaev, is one to keep an eye on as he already has over 250 goals and is only 28 years old. The Spaniards have done an excellent job of developing talent in recent years and are now in a position to make history by going for a three-peat this year. Though this will not be an easy task as two other teams have been given similar odds to win it all.
😉 Para los menos madrugadores de este domingo… ¡Aquí os traemos material!
— RFEBalonmano (@RFEBalonmano) November 7, 2021
Denmark poses a tough challenge for anyone (+350)
After a disappointing showing at the 2020 European Championship, Denmark is poised to make a comeback this year and challenge Spain for their title. The Danish are the double defending World Champions as they defended their 2019 World title at the 2021 World Championship in Egypt. In the process, they became only the fourth country to successfully defend a World Championship title. Though they have been wildly successful on the World Championship circuit, it has been a couple of years since Denmark has taken home the first place crown at the European Championship.
Denmark’s last two titles at the European games came in 2008 and 2012. So while it has not been a particularly long time since they have won it all, it does bear mentioning that their performance last year (eliminated in the preliminary round) was their worst at the tournament since 2000. However, you can never count out the Danish as they are also coming off a silver medal at the 2020/21 Tokyo Games and have a veteran roster that can be a headache for any country that is not adeptly prepared for their onslaughts.
France is looming over the field (+350)
Noted as being one of the finest national teams In the history of the sport, the France men’s handball team needs no introduction. With a total of five medals, including three golds in 2008, 2012, and 2021, France is the most successful Handball team in Summer Olympics history. In terms of the 2020 European Championship, France also has a strong track record at the tournament. Winners in 2006, 2010, and 2014, the French are no strangers to the top podium. Though they did finish in a disappointing (but still objectively successful) third place in 2018, France has the roster firepower to make some noise led by veteran left-wing Michaël Guigou (970 goals) and right-wing Luc Abalo (805).
With Spain, France, and Denmark all receiving similar odds to win it all, it would behoove you to check out some of the other squads that could make some noise. Croatia (+1600) was the runner-up at the 2020 European Championship and is much higher up on the odds scale than the others which could net a nice return on your investment if they are able to capture the title. Norway (+450) is another group to keep your eye on as they were the third-place finisher at the 2020 European tournament which is good for their best result all-time at the Championship.
Prediction: Denmark returns to glory at the European Championship
Though it has been some time since the Danish have taken home a European title, now could be the perfect opportunity for them to strike given their strong national pedigree and the odds seeming a bit unlikely that the Spanish three-peat.
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