24 June 2016
This Thursday, June 23rd, at Paris City Hall, right after the 2017 Men’s Handball World Championship draw, the competition’s full schedule and the host cities for the first round games were unveiled. The ceremony also included the presentation of the official competition ball and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced that Paris’ Entertainment Village will be based in Bercy Village.
The full calendar
After the 2017 Men’s Handball World Championship first round draw this afternoon at Paris City Hall, the International Handball Federation (IHF), the Steering Committee and the broadcast rights holder, beIN SPORTS, met in order to deliver the competition schedule and to choose the host cities for the first round games.
That calendar is now known: The 2017 World Championship will start on January 11th at 20:45 PM with a Group A match between the French team, current World Champions, and Brazil, at the Accor Hotels Arena in Paris. Following this, every other game of Group A will then take place at Nantes’ XXL Hall.
The Blues will face, consecutively: Japan on January 13th at 17:45PM, Norway on 15th January at 17:45 PM, Russia on 17th January at 20:45 PM and Poland, on 19th January at 17.45 PM. The Group B fixtures (Spain, Slovenia, Macedonia, Iceland, Tunisia and Angola) will be played in Metz, those of Group C (Croatia, Germany, Belarus, Hungary, Chile, Saudi Arabia) in Rouen, and those of Group D (Qatar, Denmark, Sweden, Egypt, Bahrain, Argentina) will be played in Paris.
The first four teams in each group will qualify for the next round (1/8 finals) played in Paris, Lille (if they qualify, the French team, whatever its position in the group, will play in the stadium Pierre-Mauroy), Albertville and Montpellier. The fifth and sixth teams from each group will play the President ‘s Cup in Brest (January, 21st to 23rd). The 16 teams that go through in this round will remain in the same city to play the quarterfinals. The semi-finals and the final will both take place in Paris from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th January 2017.
Bercy Village Handball 2017 ready to party!
To open the draw ceremony, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, announced that Bercy Village, in the capital’s 12th arrondissement, will fly the flag for France Handball 2017 by hosting the Parisian Entertainments village throughout the competition. Shopkeepers will present different activities related to handball and the World Championships, and will host special entertainments for handball fans visiting from around the world. “Bercy Village Handball 2017 will offer all supporters the delight of attending this competition,” Anne Hidalgo declared.
A blue, white and red official ball!
Immediately before the draw, the IHF and its partner, Molten, unveiled the 2017 Men’s Handball World Championship official ball. As in every previous championship, the host country’s flag colours: blue, white and red for France, are shown on the X5000 model, which has been used in big international competitions since 2014. The France Handball 2017 official logo is featured on the lower part of the ball, and the IHF’s logo is on the top part.
All reactions in the draw
Daniel Narcisse, centre-half or left-back of the French team: “We have the impression that the 2017 World Championship has already begun. It was important for the French team to be here today to show that we all support this event to be something big. To experience a moment like this, in your home country, is always very special. I was able to experience it in 2001. I will tell my teammates that it’s worth it to make every effort to experience this kind of moment. “
Thierry Omeyer, goalkeeper and captain of the French team: “This is a standard random draw, with balanced groups. We will have some big games, we lost to Poland and Norway in the Euro, but this is a different competition, we will be at home and we have the will to fight to finish at the top of Group A. Playing in front of supporters at home gives real power, and it will allow us to play even better”
Luc Abalo, right –wing, French Team: “Whoever the opponent, the fact that we are playing in France will motivate us. It is our duty to win when we play a competition in France. It’s good to be in the same group as Poland and Norway (who beat France during Euro 2016) because we will come to the matches with a desire for revenge, an additional rage that will help us to go further.”
Sergey Shishkarev, President of the Russian Handball Federation: “We are very happy with the draw. This is a fairly difficult group, but I hoped that France would choose our group. Being in the same group as the host country guarantees that we attract spectators. And if we get through the first round, we could pay against Group B, which seems less complicated, and gives us a chance to go further in the competition.”
Javier Fernandez, delegate from the Spanish Handball Federation: “It’s a very complicated group. We need to bear in mind that we could meet France again in the fourth round, but we remain optimistic. After the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympic Games, our players want to shine during the World Championships to demonstrate the potential of Spanish handball.”
Mark Schober, General Secretary of the German Handball Federation: “I think that the groups are fairly well-balanced. We should be able to get through into the fourth round without too much difficulty. We’ll see what happens after that. “
Ivan Ivanovikj, delegate from the Macedonian Handball Federation: “We are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. I think we are doing well. Regardless of who our opponents are, we want to focus on ourselves and on our games. With the right motivation, we’ll do great things.”
Mohammed Hammouda, Chairman of the Egyptian Handball Federation: “All the groups are equal. Each one is difficult, but we are happy with the draw today.”