- World Men's Handball Championship
Infobox sports league
The World Championship in team handball for men has been organized by the
International Handball Federationsince 1938.
In 1938, the first indoor
handball world championshipwas played in the Deutschlandhallein Berlin, Germanyon 5 Februaryand 6 February. This first Tournament was held with only four participating teams and played as a Single-Group-Tournament without a knockout-system. Germany became the champion by defeating each of its Opponents, one of which was Austria which would become a part of Germany only a month later. The other competitors were Sweden and Denmark, which sent the club team of Ajax Kobenhavnto the championship. Indoor handball was spread only in Scandinavia at this point in time and there had only been one single official international match played indoor before the Championship. In Germany, where the Tournament took place, the indoor game was practically unknown to this point. Nevertheless the Deutschlandhalle was attended by 18,000 spectators in the two days, who were reportedly very pleased by the fast and exciting model of handball. The first World Championship can be said to have been an obscure spectaculum for pure entertaining purposes. Matches lasted only 20 minutes (10 per half-time) and the players were recruited from field handball teams which sought an opportunity to perform their sport during winter. A first field handball WC was held in July of the same year in Berlin and other german cities, which was also won by Germany who were then olympic champions (in 1936) and dual world champions. Both WC tournaments were administered by the IAHF (International Amateur Handball Federation), the forerunner organisation of 1946 founded IHF, which was founded in 1928, and meant to be celebrational events for the 10th "birthday" of the Organisation.Erik Eggers: Handball, Goettingen 2004, pg. 82ff.]
In 1946, at the initiative and invitation of
Denmarkand Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Swedenand Switzerlandfounded the International Handball Federation(IHF). The IHF's official birthday is 11 July.
Five months after the IHF was founded, the first official international match was played under its aegis, with Sweden beating Denmark 9-7 in
Gothenburgon 6 November, 1946. In those days, the classic eleven-a-side outdoor game of field handball, so dear to the central Europeans, and the still-up-and-coming sport of seven-a-side handball, played indoors on a small court the form preferred in Scandinavia, were equally popular. Both disciplines had their fans: in 1955, 50,000 spectators watched the final of the field handball World Championships between Germanyand Switzerland(25-13) in Berlin, but the indoor final between Swedenand Czechoslovakiain East Berlinin 1958, which ended 22-12, was also played in a packed hall in front of 6,500 spectators. The dominating nations at that time were Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Denmark.
The first World Championship took place in Germany in 1938, involving four teams from Europe. Throughout their history, the World Championships has been dominated by European teams, any medals have yet to be won by non-Europeans.
Over the years, the organisation of the World Championships has changed. Initially, there were group games in both the preliminary and main rounds, but more recently a knockout system has been applied after the preliminary round.
Egyptand Tunisiaare the only non- European teams to reach the semi-finals, Egypt in 2001 and Tunisia in 2005. Both have placed 4th.
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