The draw for the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship took place in Gothenburg, Sweden on Thursday afternoon as the preliminary round groups were revealed.
This will be the 26th edition of the championship, taking place from 29 November to 17 December 2023, to be jointly hosted by Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the first time a World Championship will be held in three countries. 32 nations will participate in the competition, beginning with a preliminary round featuring eight groups of four teams. The top three teams in each group advance to the main round consisting of four groups with six teams, from which the top two in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.
The preliminary round will be played in Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Stavanger, Herning and Frederikshavn, while the main round will be played in Gothenburg, Trondheim, Herning and Frederikshavn. The quarter-finals will be played in Herning and Trondheim, before the semi-finals and medal matches will take place at Herning’s Jyske Bank Boxen, the 15,000 capacity arena which has previously hosted the 2015 women’s final and the 2019 men’s final.
Sweden will take on EHF EURO 2020 bronze medallists Croatia, People’s Republic of China and Senegal in Group A. Reigning champions Norway can look forward to clashes with Asian champions Republic of Korea, Greenland and wildcard recipient Austria in Group C. Denmark’s Group E opponents will be Romania, 2013 finalists Serbia and Chile.
“We know Croatia well, they are in the middle of a generation change and they play good handball, so we have respect for them and Senegal have a good team with a lot of players in the French league, so it could be a worse draw and I am quite happy with it.
“It is going to be amazing to have a championship here, we hope to fill the arena and give us some extra power to progress through the rounds and give ourselves a chance to fight for the medals,” says Sweden coach Tomas Axnér.
“I am really looking forward to playing the World Championship in my home city. Gothenburg is truly a handball city and I’m looking forward to showing that. There are a lot of Croatians here in Gothenburg as well, so I hope they will come to support their team and create a good atmosphere here.
“It is a long way to a medal but I hope we can continue the path we have been on. We have been improving and I think we have a chance to make it through to the knockout rounds in Denmark,” says Swedish international Jamina Roberts.
2023 IHF Women’s World Championship preliminary round draw
Group A in Gothenburg: Sweden, Croatia, People’s Republic of China, Senegal
Group B in Helsingborg: Montenegro, Hungary, Cameroon, Paraguay
Group C in Stavanger: Norway, Republic of Korea, Greenland, Austria
Group D in Stavanger: France, Slovenia, Angola, Iceland
Group E in Herning: Denmark, Romania, Serbia, Chile
Group F in Herning: Germany, Poland, Japan, Islamic Republic of Iran
Group G in Frederikshavn: Brazil, Spain, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
Group H in Frederikshavn: Netherlands, Czech Republic, Argentina, Congo