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News Details

Date: 4/8/2016

The Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournaments begin on Friday in Gdansk, Malmö and Herning, and when the final whistle sounds on Sunday night all 12 teams to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be confirmed. 

Olympic Qualification Tournament II in Malmö sees Spain, Slovenia, Iran and Sweden competing for the group’s two tickets to the premier international stage in August. 

Friday April 8 in Malmö Arena, Malmö
Spain vs Slovenia 17:00 local time

Spain and Slovenia last met in the group phase of the men’s EHF EURO 2016 in Poland in January, playing a fast-paced 60 minutes that ended in a 24:24 draw. 

Slovenia went on to be eliminated from the competition at the end of the preliminary ground, while Spain proceeded all the way to the final where they were defeated by Germany in a one-sided match and forced to settle for the silver medal. 

Despite the significant differences in final ranking at that tournament, where Slovenia finished 14th in comparison with Spain’s second place, a match between these sides could certainly go either way. 

Fans in Malmö can expect a high voltage match to start the weekend off with a bang. With a host of stars lining up on either side, with the likes of Julen Aguinagalde, Victor Tomas and Arpad Sterbik donning the Spanish jersey and Slovenia lacking the same incredible depth as their opponent yet boasting young talents such as Dean Bombac alongside veterans like Uros Zorman, the stage is set for a fast-paced thriller. 

Iran vs Sweden 19:15 local time

Opening their Olympic Qualification campaign against Sweden presents a formidable challenge for Iran, who finished fifth at the 2016 Asian Men’s Handball Championship. 

Facing the powerhouse Scandinavian side on a home court in front of a stadium packed with Swedish fans will put the odds firmly against the younger Iran team, but they can be expected to put up a strong fight. 

Iran’s numerous rookies will look to the more experienced players on their side such as centre back Merhad Samsami and right back Sajad Nadri, each of whom have scored over 400 international goals. 

But they are coming up against some of the top players in their positions in the world, with the likes of always-reliable Mattias Andersson in goal and a host of other VELUX EHF Champions League stars such as captain Tobias Karlsson and high-scoring back Johan Jakobsson. 

The home team also celebrate the return of sharp-shooting back Kim Andersson, who previously retired from the national team but elected to wear the yellow and blue jersey once more for the chance at Olympic glory Sweden came so close to at London 2012, when they finished with the silver medal. 

“Olympic silver in London is one of the coolest memories I have in my career, and if I can help Sweden to get to the Olympics in Brazil I do it gladly,” said Andersson. 

“The national team showed in Poland [at the 2016 European championship] that we can compete with the best teams in the world and if that takes us to the Olympics, anything can happen.”