The 24 teams that will vie for the EHF EURO 2022 title learned who they will face in the first stage of the event when the draw took place in May.
The draw was held in Budapest, where the the Men’s EHF EURO champions will be crowned after the final on 30 January 2022.
Plenty of top-class matches can be expected in the opening stage of the EHF EURO, with defending champions Spain set to take on World Championship 2021 and EHF EURO 2018 silver medallists Sweden as a highlight match in group E.
EHF EURO 2020 runners-up Croatia were drawn into group C, where they will meet familiar rivals France and Serbia, along with Ukraine. Bronze medallists from the 2020 edition, Norway, will meet Russia, Slovakia and Lithuania in group F.
Group A not only features several regional derbies but sees almost an exact repeat of what was a thrilling preliminary round at the EHF EURO 2018, with EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalists Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro all drawn into that group. Rounding out the group are none other than back-to-back world champions Denmark.
The draw was conducted by four players — Spain’s Rodrigo Corrales, Hungary’s Bence Banhidi, Croatia Luka Stepancic and Slovakia’s Marian Zernovic — alongside EHF President Michael Wiederer and EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner.
From the preliminary round groups, the top two squads in each will progress to the main round.
The six playing groups for the preliminary rounds at the final tournament can be seen above.
Each of the host countries will be home to three preliminary round groups. In Hungary, group A will play in Debrecen, group B will be in Budapest and group C will be in Szeged. In Slovakia, group D and E will be based in Bratislava, and group F will play in Kosice.
The two main round groups will be hosted in Bratislava and Budapest, before the top six teams converge in Budapest for the final weekend that will determine the winners through to sixth position on the ranking.
BALL DESIGN REVEALED FOR MEN’S EHF EURO 2022
For the sixth consecutive EHF EURO event since the Women’s EHF EURO 2016, the final tournament’s match ball is presented by the EHF’s premium partner, Danish ball manufacturer SELECT Sport.
The 'Ultimate iBall' saw the light of day at the draw event and will eventually star in all 65 matches at the Men’s EHF EURO 2022, played in Hungary and Slovakia from 13 to 30 January.
The ball has been exclusively designed for the championship. With elements in dark and light blue as well as in green and red it features the European Handball Federation's primary colour as well as those which are dominant in the host nations’ flags.
With the EHF's ongoing partnership with KINEXON for the EHF EURO events, this SELECT Ultimate iBall has a built-in chip that tracks and distributes data in real-time: Shot detection, exact ball speed and position of the shot is captured, used and displayed on the EHF's owned and operated channels as well as on TV and brings fans and spectators closer to the game.
On EHF EURO level, the SELECT Ultimate iBall premiered at the final weekend of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 and has since been used at the Men’s and Women’s EHF EURO 2020.
The ball is made of extremely hardwearing synthetic leather material. A zero-wing bladder inside the ball ensures optimal roundness.
The specially developed ‘shark skin foam’ gives the ball an extremely soft feel and excellent grip. The ball is light and lively, but above all its constant balance ensures that there are no random bounces.
CEO of SELECT Sport, Peter Knap, said: “This is a fantastic ball with excellent qualities proven in play at numerous European Championships and in top handball leagues. The official match ball incorporates the colours of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 logo, which is inspired by the national colours of Hungary and Slovakia. We have been developing handballs for more than 70 years, so we are able to ensure top quality when it comes to material and innovative solutions – just like with this Ultimate iBall.”