Tatjana Brnović, right, helped conduct the draw from Ljubljana Castle ©EHF

Defending champions Norway have been drawn in the same group as Hungary, 2020 bronze medallists Croatia and Switzerland at this year's European Women's Handball Championship.

The world and European champions have avoided any of the three host nations - Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro - and headline Group A.

Norway will play Hungary on the opening day of the tournament, in Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

North Macedonia are in Group C and are joined by Olympic champions France, plus the Dutch and Romania.

Denmark, who finished third at last year's World Championship, have been drawn alongside Slovenia, Serbia and Sweden in Group B.

Spain, Germany, Poland and Montenegro are in Group D, which will unfold in the latter's capital Podgorica.

Norway are the reigning world and European champions ©Getty Images
Norway are the reigning world and European champions ©Getty Images

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, is due to host Group C and Group B will be in Celje in Slovenia.

Star players from the host nations - Slovenia's Ana Gros, Montenegrin Tatjana Brnović and North Macedonia's Andrea Sedloska - plus Hungarian Andrea Sedloska conducted the draw, overseen by European Handball Federation Competition Commission chairman Bozidar Djurkovic and secretary general Martin Hausleitner.

The draw took place at Ljubljana Castle.

The tournament, the last European Women's Handball Championship to feature 16 teams before expansion in 2024, is due to run from November 4 to 20.

Russia and Belarus were disqualified from qualification over the invasion of Ukraine.