France are riding high as they go into the defence of their women's world handball title ©IHF

France will begin their defence of the women's world handball title in Japan tomorrow in an ideal frame of mind, having won all three games at the Japan Cup in Shibuya in the test event for next year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games competition.

They will open their account against South Korea tomorrow at the Yamaga City Overall Gymnasium, one of four venues that will host the 24th International Handball Federation Women's World Championships.

The other three venues are Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium, Yatsushiro General Gymnasium and Aqua Dome Kumamoto.

Hosts Japan, who are in the third of the six seeded pots for the event, were among the sides France beat in Shibuya, with the other two - Slovenia and Brazil - in pots four and five, respectively.

Russia will be seeking a fourth women's world handball gold ©Getty Images
Russia will be seeking a fourth women's world handball gold ©Getty Images

The Netherlands - 2017 bronze medallists - join France in pot one, along with Russia, who beat France in the Rio 2016 final, and Romania.

Rio 2016 bronze and 2018 world silver medallists Norway are in pot two, along with Sweden - fourth in Germany two years ago - Hungary and Denmark.

Norway, winners in 2011 and 2015 and beaten 23-21 in the final two years ago, will start their quest for a fourth win in an event that began in 1957 with a match against Cuba at the Aqua Dome.

Russia - who have won the title four times following three earlier victories for the Soviet Union - will open their challenge against China at the Park Dome.

Kumamoto, which is 500 miles from Tokyo, was a successful host of the 1997 men's World Championships.