London 2012 handball draws made
Thursday, 31 May 2012
May 31 - Olympic and world champions France were awarded a favourable draw in the London 2012 men's handball tournament when they were pitted against Sweden, Iceland, Argentina, Tunisia and the hosts in the preliminaries.
In the other group, Denmark face Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and South Korea.
This means that Denmark, Spain, Croatia and Serbia, the four semi-finalists from the last European Championships, will meet again in London.
Denmark will be confident though as they won that competition, as will the French.
"We know the Olympics are not like other competitions," said France's coach Claude Onesta.
"There are two competitions; the first week and then from the start of the quarter finals.
"The two pools are not equal and we have the easier one on paper.
"This gives us the chance to arrive at a good moment prepare for the quarter finals."
In the women's draw the two finalists from last year's World Championships, France and Norway, will meet.
They will also face Spain, who were third in that competition, three times Olympic champion Denmark, Sweden and South Korea.
The other women's group features four times World Champion Russia, the runners up in Beijing 2008, the hosts, Croatia, Montenegro, Brazil and Angola (pictured in white below).
The top four teams from each group will advance to the quarter finals.
The draw was conducted by Leon Kalin, the chairman of the International Handball Federation (IHF) Commission of Organising and Competition (COC), and Miguel Roca, the first IHF vice-president.
They were helped by the two captains of the British teams, John Pearce and Lynn McCafferty.
"We will see attractive matches and decisions in London, both in the men's and the women's tournament," said IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa.
"I hope that the teams of Great Britain will show their improvement since they started seven years ago."
Britain will be a rank outsider as their handball teams only started seven years ago after London was awarded the right to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Those teams will show a great performance, though we know that we are not the favourite in London," said British Handball Association (BHA) President John Brewer.
"But we promote our sports for kids and youngsters with the participation at the Olympics."
Jesper Holmris, the British women's coach, and Dragan Djukic, who is in charge of the men's team, at least were able to select which group to be drawn into after the first five spots were selected.
Djukic, who leaves his post after London 2012, said: "The Olympics in London will be the best handball tournament ever – and we are so proud that we can be part of it and will try our best."