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2019 Men’s World Championship 2019 Men’s World Championship
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Date: 7/19/2018

Men’s Group B: Spain, Hungary, Vietnam, New Zealand



The 2017 Men’s European Championship Beach Handball champions are looking to add another gold medal to their collection and follow in the footsteps of their female counterparts, who won the 2016 Beach Handball World Championships in Budapest.


The European title, gained in Zagreb, Croatia last June saw Spain lose just one of their games – against Hungary in their final preliminary round match, after victories against Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark and Germany – three from a penalty shoot-out.


In the Main Round, Spain beat Norway and Ukraine 2-0 to move forward to a quarter-final date with Sweden. Another 2-0 victory ensued to set up a semi-final against Hungary, where a shoot-out grabbed some revenge for Spain as they won 2-1. Another match against Russia awaited them in the final, and they despatched them 2-0 to grab the title and a ticket to Kazan.


At the second-ever Beach Handball World Championship in 2006, the Spanish side took bronze – but this was to prove to be their only medal to date as they have finished fifth in four of the last five editions since.


Specialist Alberto Castro, along with Gonzalo Cervera, will be looking to help guide their side, coached by former national team player (2005-2011) and bronze medallist Jaime Osborne, to a podium spot in Russia.


Follow Spain on their official federation website, Facebook, Twitter (@ArenaHandballT / @RFEBalonmano), YouTube and Instagram (@arenahandballtour / @rfebalonmano).



Just one medal hangs around the necks of the Hungarian men’s national team at a Beach Handball World Championship – a silver gained in 2010, but four other appearances in the competition, which included a home tournament, have seen no other podium finishes for Istvan Gulyas’ team.


Hungary could be the team of ‘nearly-men’ as they missed the podium again last year, losing 2-0 against host nation Croatia in the bronze-medal match of the 2017 Men’s EHF EURO Beach Championship in Zagreb. Small consolation was provided by the ranking positions meaning qualification for Kazan 2018 and the title of MVP bestowed upon influential left wing Andras John.


Along with specialist Patrik Vizes, John will be aiming to break the cycle of fourth-placed finishes in the last three major competitions, which saw a shoot-out bronze medal defeat at the 2017 World Games against Qatar.


EHF Master Coach Gulyas has been in charge of the team since 2014 and the former Veszprem player and Hungarian Handball Player of the Year (1995) is a winner of EHF Cup Winner's Cup back in 1992 and multiple Hungarian Cup and Hungarian Championship winner too.


“Our group could have been better and could have been worse,” said Gulyas. “We have to fight with Spain, but with the other two nations we have not met them yet.


“We started our preparations at the end of May with the team meeting each weekend and in addition to the training camps, we will also take part in international tournaments in Prague, Serbia and Budapest and a pre-tournament in Kazan where we can get to know the participants.


“Our aim is to achieve the best results in the World Championship, although this tournament does not put a great pressure on us, because it does not qualify for other tournaments, so we can experiment in our game and refresh our squad.


“We are a very creative team,” continued Gulyas, who has coached indoor handball for UHK Krems (Austria), Khaitan SC (Kuwait) Dunaújváros (Hungary), Vác (Hungary) and Gyöngyös (Hungary). “Both our defensive and offensive games belong to our strengths. During our preparation we are trying to step forward in defence and we will work hard on shootout situations. I am very confident, and the team is looking forward to the World Championship.”


Follow Hungary on their official federation website, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.



A fourth-place finish at the 6th Asian Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball Championships in Thailand saw the men’s Vietnamese team qualify for their debut World Championship – and they started impressively in Pattaya, winning all four of their group games (2-1 vs Iran, 2-0 vs Afghanistan, 2-1 vs Thailand and 2-0 vs United Arab Emirates). However, their winning streak ended abruptly as the near-impossible task of beating the dominant Qataris in the semi-final proved too much and they lost 2-0.


Fellow Kazan 2018 team Iran then beat them 2-1 in a shoot-out in the bronze-medal match, but it was enough already for Vietnam, who’s coach Trinh Huy Cuong will look towards his strong players Huynh Nam Tien and Le Van Binh to lead the way.


New Zealand

A debutant on the men’s beach handball world stage is Oceania side New Zealand who finished second at the 2018 Men’s OCHF Oceania Beach Handball Qualifiers, behind Australia who grabbed the ticket to Kazan, but the Kiwis of New Zealand were handed a wild card by the IHF to compete in Russia after the IHF Beach Handball Working Group proposed it to further strengthen the development of beach handball in Oceania.


The New Zealand men's beach handball team follow in the footsteps of the women’s side who have competed once, in Antalya, Turkey 2010.


Head Coach Ben Dawson does have experience at World Championships though, playing for the Australian men in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 editions.


“The team might not have the experience of some of our opposition, like Spain and Hungary, but I believe they are talented and will work hard enough to play at a World Championship standard,” he said. “We are being realistic about our expectations but are extremely positive we can prove New Zealand can play at the top level of our sport."


In preparation for Kazan, New Zealand had a training camp in Serbia as well as some friendlies as they benefit from added depth to their training squad with the addition of players from the 17 squad who competed at the 2017 IHF U17 Beach Handball World Championship in Mauritius.


Defensive player Max Brookes even made the step up to the senior squad to be named by Dawson in his final squad of 10 in early June.


Pivot Nicholas Shield was top scorer and MVP at the 2018 Australian National Club Championships, which was won by New Zealand.


Follow the New Zealand team via their official federation website, FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.


Photos: Royal Spanish Handball Federation, Hungarian Handball Federation, Vietnamese Handball Federation, New Zealand Handball Federation