16.01.16 – 18:30 hrs – Spain vs. Germany
While reigning champion France is suffering from a lot of absent players, many see Spain as the most likely candidate to win the tournament. In a recent test the 2013 World Champion show great form against Poland and probably field the best goalkeeper tandem of the tournament in Arpad Sterbik and Gonzalo Perez da Vargas. Germany is missing four of its four starts from the tournament in Qatar last year and especially the speed of wingers Uwe Gensheimer and Patrick Groetzki. The team offers more firepower from the back-court compared to 2015, but most likely Spain will use its experience and physical power to take the two points.
Prediction: Spain by three.
16.01.16 – 20:45 hrs – Sweden vs. Slovenia
As Spain seems a lock to win the group all other matchups become crucial in order to advance to the main round and maybe, later on, the semi-final. Sweden is a record four-time European champion, but except for the silver medal won at the 2012 Olympics, the team is far away from being a perennial title contender like in the 1990s. After Kim Andersson and Kim Ekdahl du Rietz retired from the national team the back-court is the main issue, while opposing Slovenia would love to have the strength of the Swedes. However, the team of Veselin Vujovic offers a lot of skill, vision and speed, which could be just enough.
Prediction: Slovenia by one.