The group stage matches of the 2023 Super Globe held in Damman, Saudi Arabia, came to an end on Thursday, confirming that men's handball is predominantly a European sport. All four European teams have booked their places in Saturday's semi-finals.

This means that, as in the previous 15 editions of the World Club Championship, there will be a European champion once again. In fact, all 14 Olympic handball champions have come from this continent, as have the 27 World Championships winners.

With the exception of the opening game, when Poland's Barlinek Industria Kielce narrowly edged out Bahrain's Al-Najma 27-26 in a game that was decided by a late goal from Szymon Sicko, who was 3-for-10 from the field in a difficult game, all four European teams have demonstrated their superiority over their opponents.

Germany's SC Magdeburg has won the last two editions of the tournament, beating Barcelona in both finals. However, they have suffered a major setback in the absence of Icelandic centre-back Gisli Kristjansson, a player known for his ability to challenge in one-on-one situations.

Led by Bennett Wiegert, they are also the reigning of the European Champions League winners and finished top of Group C with a convincing 29-20 win over Saudi Arabia's Khaleej Club (10 goals from German left winger Matthias Musche) and a historic 57-14 victory over Australia's University of Queensland (26 goals from Swedish right winger Daniel Pettersson and 24 saves from Spanish goalkeeper Sergey Hernández).

Last year, Magdeburg won the Super Globe title for the second year in a row. IHF
Last year, Magdeburg won the Super Globe title for the second year in a row. IHF

SC Magdeburg will face Kielce in the second semi-final on Saturday at 20:15 local time in Saudi Arabia. Kielce started slowly but recovered from an early scare against the Asian champions. Belarusian pivot Artsem Karalek scored five goals. 

On Thursday, they had no trouble against the San Francisco CallHeat of the United States, winning 49-23 with 10 goals from French left winger Dylan Nahí.

Barcelona, the most decorated team in the Super Globe with five titles, will take on Füchse Berlin in the first semi-final on Saturday at 17:30 local time. The Berliners are one of the teams in the best form at the moment, leading the German Bundesliga with 10 wins and just one draw. 

Brilliant French player, Dika Mem is one of the world's leading stars. IHF
Brilliant French player, Dika Mem is one of the world's leading stars. IHF

They are the reigning champions of the European League, despite a number of injuries, including Germans Fabien Wiede and Paul Drux, and Russian goalkeeper Viktor Kireev.

Led by their brilliant Danish right-back Mathias Gidsel, the reigning German champions has the Serbian goalkeeper Dejan Milovavljev in exceptional form. They also have two former Barcelona players in Demnark's Lasse Andersson, who is in excellent form, and Croatia's Marko Kopljar. 

In Dammam, Füchse Berlin defeated Argentinian team San Fernando Handball 34-48, with 13 goals and only two misses from Gidsel, who produced another impressive performance the following day with 13 goals and three misses in a 28-37 win over Kuwait Sport Club.

In addition to the sporting aspect, the economic aspect should not be overlooked. In this tournament, the International Handball Federation (IHF) will distribute 750,000 euros in prize money to those who finish on the podium: 400,000 for the champion, 200,000 for the runner-up, and 150,000 for the third-placed team.