Last group of World Championships in Serbia is Group D, which is hosted by SPENS Arena in Novi Sad, with a capacity of 11000 seats.
Group D: Hungary, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Tunisia, Australia
Last year’s bronze medalists from the ECh lost their head-coach right after that event, Karl Erik Böhn being diagnosed with acute leukemia. Through 2013 Hungarian squad had skip all of their preparation period, hoping that Böhn will be back healthy. They first met in October for a preparation tournament, played against Brazil, Croatia and Norway B, than had a ten days training period right before WCh.
The new head-coach is János Hajdu (Karl Erik Böhn seems to be healthy after a bone marrow transplantation, planning his comeback in summer), his assistent is the same Beáta Siti, and their physical trainer is Tord Ellingsen from Norway.
The squad is almst the same as last year, with small exceptions, instead of Vali Szabó is Anita Cifra in the team and Kinga Klivinyi is out, Szandra Zácsik is in. Zácsik is struggling with an illness, and will stay over first match.
Eighteen players has arrived to Novi Sad, tonight was announced the three players who will stay over against Czech Republic: goalkeeper Ágnes Triffa, playmaker Anikó Kovacsics and Szandra Zácsik.
Hungarian Handball Federation”s objective for this WCh is reaching the best eight, but Anita Görbicz and company are dreaming about medals at least.
Players to keep an eye on will be surely Zsuzsanna Tomori, Anita Görbicz, Zita Szucsánszki or Bognár-Bódi Bernadett, but interesting to follow Krisztina Triscsuk or Anita Cifra as well.
Romania is also building a new, younger team, with some experienced players in the squad as well.
Gheorghe Tadici set the main goal, as reaching the top six, which could be quiet ambitious, but Neagu and company is able to raise and to make good matches.
In October Romania played oi qualification matches against Norway, ended with two defeats, and the preparation tournament in Denmark and France brought also more lost matches than victories.
However, this team can make the life difficult for every opponent, and with players like Aurelia Bradeanu, Paula Ungureanu, Adriana Nechita, Oana Manea, Cristina Neagu, Valentian Ardean or rookies like Gabriela Perianu, Eliza Buceschi and Luciana Marin, with lead of Tadici they could be a serious candidate to semifinal as well.
The German team had not had a lucky preparation period, since first Nadja Nadgornaja, Anne Hubbinger was injured (they fully recovered), than lineplayer Anne Müller got a serious knee-injury and last week, playmaker Kerstin Wohlbold was set out with a knee injury, being forced to stay over WCh.
Katja Schülke and Isabelle Klein are pregnant, but compared to last year Susan Müller is back on rightback position and Kim Nadzinavicius is also in the team.
Heine Jensen will have to change his team’s defensive and offensive formation and tactic, due to Wohlbold’s injury, but he has good solutions.
“As long as I will be German head-coach, we will always play against Hungary”-said Jensen, commenting the fact that Germany is facing every time in the last three years the Hungarian team in major competitions or qualifications.
Ten years-that’s the period since Czechs did not participate on a WCh. Last time it was in 2003 in Croatia, and ended with a 15.place. World Championship in Serbia will be their fifth appearance at the World Championships after the split of Czechoslovakia in the early nineties. The best place in recent history is thirteenth of the WWCh 1997 .
On the last European Championship in Serbia, the team led by Jan Basnja played a solid tournament occupying at the end the 12. place. In the play-off matches for WCh Czehs eliminated Iceland with two victories.
Players to follow are Barbora Rannikova (Metz), Iveta Luzumova (THC) or Klara Cerna (Nimes).
African team is a frequent participant at WCh, having some big profiles playing in European clubs, they could be dangerous against any team.
Raja Toumi is backplayer in Norway at Byasen, Mouna Chebbah plays at Viborg (earlier Team Esbjerg), and several players are playing in the French League: Rafika Marzouk (Nimes),Abdeljak Haifa (Havre) or Ines Khoulidi coming from Polish League.
Has a team which is almost unknown for the European eye, but we could find a Danish player, Solveig Sörensen, participating at her fourth WCh in Serbia.
“I am extremely proud to lead this group of women to the 21st Handball World Championships to be held in Serbia. Whilst we are realistic about our chances in the main round of the tournament we intend to show the world that the level and quality of women’s handball in Australia is improving. Many of our players are now playing regular handball in Europe and our goal for the tournament is to win our first ever match at a women’s world championship event. “- Jason Hoppner, head-coach of Australia.