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European Men's Handball Championship

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European Men's Handball Championship

European Men's Handball Championship
Founded 1994
Region Europe (EHF)
Number of teams 38 (Qualification)
16 (Final Tournament)
Current champions  France (3rd title)
Most successful team(s)  Sweden (4 titles)
2014 European Men's Handball Championship

The European Men's Handball Championship is the official competition for senior men's national handball teams of Europe, and takes place every two years. In addition to crowning the European champions, the tournament also serves as a qualifying tournament for the World Championship. Sweden have won four of the ten championships that have been held since 1994, while Spain have been runners-up three times. Denmark is the team with most medals won in European Championship history with a total of six medals, those being two gold medals (2008, 2012), one silver (2014) and three bronze medals (2002, 2004 & 2006).


In 1946, the International Handball Federation was founded by eight European nations,[1] and though non-European nations competed at the World Championships, the medals had always been taken by European nations.[2] European Handball Federation is founded in 1991. At the same time (1995), the World Championship was changed from a quadrennial to a biannual event, and the European Handball Federation now began its own championship – which also acted as a regional qualifier for the World Championship.[3] The record-holder for scored goals in a single Euro Championship is Kiril Lazarov. He scored 61 goals for Macedonia at the 2012 European Men's Handball Championship that took place in Serbia.

1994 Championship

Host:  Portugal

The first championship was held in Portugal in June 1994.[4] The host nation had not managed to qualify for any World Championship thus far, and they finished 12th and last after losing all six games, including 21–38 to Romania in the 11th-place play-off. Sweden became the first European champion after defeating Russia by 34–21 in the final, Russia's heaviest loss in their international history.[5] Both teams had gone through the tournament without loss, but Sweden's fast breaks became the key in the final; they scored 14 of their 34 goals on fast breaks. Swedish middle back Magnus Andersson was named the event's best player and Russian left back Vasily Kudinov was top scorer with 50 goals.[6]

1996 Championship

Host:  Spain

Two years later, the championship moved to Spain, with the same format. This time, no team went through the group stage without giving up points, but Russia and Sweden were to face off once again; this time in the semi-final, and Russia got revenge with a 24–21 win in front of 650 spectators.[7] In the other semi-final, the hosts beat Yugoslavia 27–23, before 7,500 spectators littered the arena in Sevilla to watch the hosts go down by one goal despite the efforts of Talant Dujshebaev, a Kyrgyz-born[8] back player who had played for Russia in 1994 but who now turned out for Spain.[5] Federal Republic of Yugoslavia participated for the first time and finished third.

1998 Championship

Host:  Italy

In 1998 the Championship was held in Italy, whose appearance at the 1997 World Championship was their first (and to date, only) at the top level of international handball.[2] Spain went through the first six matches of the tournament unbeaten, while their opponents Sweden had won the first four games before becoming the first team to lose to hosts Italy. However, in the final, Sweden were too strong and won by 25–23 after having led by 15–9 at half-time in front of 6,100 spectators in Bolzano.

2000 Championship

Host:  Croatia

Two years later, the Championship was held in the Croatian cities of Zagreb and Rijeka. By now, the Championship had been moved back to January[9] in the middle of the European handball season. The Championship acted as an Olympic qualifier, and hosts Croatia, who had won the 1996 Olympics, needed to finish in the top five to qualify. They lost to Spain and drew with France in the group stage, which sent them into a fifth-place play-off with neighbours Slovenia. 10,000 spectators watched as Slovenia prevailed by one goal and qualified for the Sydney Games. The two teams who had won European Championships before, Sweden and Russia, qualified for the final – Sweden had won the group stage match 28–25,[9] but Russia took a six-goal lead at half-time. Sweden came back to tie the game at full-time, and two 10-minute extra periods were required before Sweden won 32–31[5] after Magnus Wislander scored the deciding goal.[10]

2002 Championship

Host:  Sweden

Three-time champions Sweden were the next to host the European Championship, in 2002. This was the first tournament with 16 teams, an expansion from 12 in the previous four instalments. The Swedes won their first seven matches, and had already qualified for the semi-finals when they lost 26–27 to Denmark, having led 17–11 at half time. In the other main round group, Iceland became the third Nordic team to qualify after defeating Germany in the final match, but both Denmark and Iceland were soundly beaten in the semi-finals – Denmark lost 23–28 to Germany, while Sweden defeated Iceland by 11 goals. Sweden thus qualified for their fourth final in five attempts, and in front of 14,300 spectators in Stockholm Globe, they came back from a one-goal deficit when Staffan Olsson equalised with five seconds to spare. Sweden had substituted their goalkeeper, and Florian Kehrmann replied with a goal in an empty net, but it was disallowed because the referees had not started play after the Swedish goal.[11] In the extra time, Sweden held on, and could celebrate their fourth title.[12]

2004 Championship

Host:  Slovenia

Sweden's row of three successive Championships was broken in Slovenia in 2004, when Germany won despite not being touted as a medal candidate by news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur.[13] Germany suffered an early defeat to Serbia and Montenegro, and qualified for the main round as the third and final team from their group, having drawn with France as well. However, as the favourites beat each other in Germany's main round group, Germany qualified for the semi-finals in first place from the six-team group. In the other group, Croatia, who won the other group, had not lost any of their first seven games, while Denmark also had four successive wins.

Croatia faced hosts Slovenia in the semi-final, and the clash of the two Balkan neighbours saw heightened security measures.[14] 7,000 spectators in the Hall Tivoli saw that the hosts became the first team to beat Croatia in this tournament despite 12 goals from Croatian right winger Mirza Džomba who was reputed to be the best handball player in the world at the time.[15] Denmark, who had reached their second successive semi-final, once again had to bow out at this stage, as they lost 20–22 to Germany in what was described as a "hard-fought victory."[14] Germany won the final more convincingly; a 16–10 lead at half time was never squandered, as Slovenia only got within three goals in the second half, and eventually lost 25–30.[16]

2006 Championship

Host:   Switzerland

The 2006 tournament was held in Switzerland, in the cities of Basel, Bern, Lucerne, St Gallen and Zürich. France won the tournament, going through with one solitary loss – a 26–29 defeat to Spain in the preliminary round (where France trailed by eight goals at half-time). Defending champions Germany was also in this preliminary group, and this time taking one point through from the group stage would not be enough for Germany. Despite winning all three main round games, so did France and Spain, and those two teams qualified for the semi-finals from Group I. From the other group, Croatia qualified in first place after a 34–30 victory over Serbia and Montenegro in the last match. Later that evening, Denmark beat Russia and qualified for their third successive semi-final, one point behind Croatia. However, the Group II teams were both defeated by Group I teams, causing France and Spain to meet again in the final. In the third-place play-off, Croatia surprisingly lost to Denmark, while the final saw France prevail by eight goals to win their first European Championship.

2008 Championship

Host:  Norway

Norway was the host country for the 2008 tournament. Matches were played in Bergen, Drammen, Lillehammer, Stavanger and Trondheim. Croatia, Norway, Hungary and France won their preliminary groups, but two of the teams failed to utilise their advantage; Norway drew with Poland and lost to Slovenia, and needed to beat Croatia in the final match of the group stage. Instead, Ivano Balić scored the 23–22 goal with twenty seconds to spare, and only a late equaliser gave Norway third place in the group.[17] Hungary, Spain and Germany had all gone through with two points from Group C, and Germany sealed their qualification with a two-goal win over Sweden in a match where a draw would have been enough for the Swedes.[18] In the first semifinal Croatia played France in a game dominated by strong defense by both teams, with the Croats achieving a three-goal lead twice, only to see France come back strong. Croatia goalkeeper Mirko Alilović saved a shot from Nikola Karabatic with six seconds to go as Croatia won 24–23. Denmark came back from 7–12 down to beat Germany, despite the Germans equalising within the final minute, as Lars Christiansen slotted home a penalty shot with three seconds remaining. Croatia started off well in the final, scoring the first four goals, but with eight saves more from Denmark's keeper, Kasper Hvidt, Denmark won 24–20 and took their first major trophy.

2010 Championship

Host:  Austria

2012 Championship

Host:  Serbia

2014 Championship

Host:  Denmark

2016 Championship

Host:  Poland

2018 Championship

Host:  Croatia

2020 Championship

Host:  Austria /  Norway /  Sweden


Year Host Final Third place match
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
1994  Portugal

1996  Spain

1998  Italy


2000  Croatia

2002  Sweden

2004  Slovenia

2006   Switzerland

2008  Norway

2010  Austria

2012  Serbia

2014  Denmark

2016  Poland
2018  Croatia
2020  Austria
1No extra time played.

Medal count

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Sweden 4 0 0 4
2  France 3 0 1 4
3  Denmark 2 1 3 6
4  Russia 1 2 0 3
5  Germany 1 1 1 3
6  Spain 0 3 2 5
7  Croatia 0 2 2 4
8  Serbia 0 1 1 2
9  Slovenia 0 1 0 1
10  Iceland 0 0 1 1

Total hosts

Hosts Nations (Year(s)
2  Austria (2010, 2020)
 Croatia (2000, 2018)
 Norway (2008, 2020)
 Sweden (2002, 2020)
1  Denmark (2014)
 Italy (1998)
 Poland (2016)
 Portugal (1994)
 Serbia (2012)
 Slovenia (2004)
 Spain (1996)
  Switzerland (2006)

Top scorers by tournament

Year Player Goals
1994 Vasily Kudinov 50
1996 Thomas Knorr 41
1998 Jan Filip 48
2000 Oleg Velyky 46
2002 Stefan Lövgren
Ólafur Stefánsson
2004 Mirza Džomba 46
2006 Siarhei Rutenka 51
2008 Ivano Balić
Nikola Karabatić
Lars Christiansen
2010 Filip Jícha 53
2012 Kiril Lazarov 61
2014 Joan Cañellas 50


Participation details

  • 1st – Champions
  • 2nd – Runners-up
  • 3rd – Third place
  • 4th – Fourth place
  • 5th – Fifth place
  • 6th – Sixth place
  • 7th – Seventh place
  • 8th – Eighth place
  • 9th – Ninth place
  • 10th – Tenth place
  • 11th – Eleventh place
  • 12th – Twelfth place
  • MR – Main round
  • GS – Group stage
  • Q — Qualified for upcoming tournament
  •  ••  — Qualified but withdrew
  •  •  — Did not qualify
  •  ×  — Did not enter / Withdrew from the European Championship / Banned
  •    — Hosts

For each tournament, the number of teams in each finals tournament (in brackets) are shown.

Team 1994












 Austria 9th 11th 2
 Belarus 8th 15th 12th 3
 Croatia 3rd 5th 8th 6th 16th 4th 4th 2nd 2nd 3rd 4th 11
 Czech Republic 6th 10th 8th 11th 13th 8th 14th 15th 8
 Denmark 4th 12th 10th 3rd 3rd 3rd 1st 5th 1st 2nd 10
 France 6th 7th 7th 4th 6th 6th 1st 3rd 1st 11th 1st Q 12
 Germany 9th 8th 3rd 9th 2nd 1st 5th 4th 10th 7th 10
 Hungary 7th 10th 6th 9th 13th 8th 14th 8th 8th 9
 Iceland 11th 4th 13th 7th 11th 3rd 10th 5th 8
 Israel 14th 1
 Italy 11th 1
 Lithuania 9th 1
 Macedonia 12th 5th 10th 3
 Montenegro Part of  Serbia and Montenegro 12th 16th 2
 Norway 8th 11th 6th 7th 13th 14th 6
 Poland 15th 16th 10th 7th 4th 9th 6th Q 8
 Portugal 12th 7th 9th 14th 15th 5
 Romania 11th 9th 2
 Russia 2nd 1st 4th 2nd 5th 5th 6th 14th 12th 15th 9th 11
 Serbia 1 2 Part of  Serbia and Montenegro 13th 2nd 13th 8
 Slovakia 16th 16th 16th 3
 Slovenia 10th 11th 5th 12th 2nd 8th 10th 11th 6th 9
 Spain 5th 2nd 2nd 3rd 7th 10th 2nd 9th 6th 4th 3rd 11
 Sweden 1st 4th 1st 1st 1st 7th 5th 15th 12th 7th 10
 Switzerland 13th 12th 14th 3
 Ukraine 12th 11th 15th 12th 16th 5

1: Includes 2 appearances as Serbia and Montenegro 2: includes results representing Yugoslavia up to 2003, and Serbia and Montenegro up to 2006

General statistics

Team P W D L GF GA Dif
 Sweden 43 35 0 8 524 447 +77
 Russia 42 30 4 8 523 456 +67
 Spain 40 25 2 13 502 438 +64
 Germany 41 20 6 15 443 426 +17
 Croatia 36 17 4 15 464 461 +3
 France 32 14 5 13 442 442 0
 Denmark 35 17 2 16 282 310 −28
 Yugoslavia 27 14 2 10 323 307 +16
 Serbia and Montenegro 27 14 2 10 323 307 +16
 Serbia 11 4 3 4 259 252 +7
 Hungary 24 9 2 12 417 443 −26
 Czech Republic 25 8 1 16 320 322 −2
 Portugal 22 6 1 15 117 154 −37
 Slovenia 33 10 4 19 232 278 −46
 Romania 12 4 0 8 296 317 −21
 Iceland 17 4 3 10 1 4 −3
 Belarus 6 2 0 4 154 167 −13
 Lithuania 6 2 1 3 138 151 −13
 Italy 6 2 0 4 133 148 −15
 Ukraine 16 2 1 13 1 3 −2
 Norway 6 1 1 4 8 17 −9
 Macedonia 13 4 2 7 315 349 −34
 Switzerland 9 1 1 7 1 5 −4
 Poland 6 0 0 6 1 5 −4
 Israel 3 0 0 3 1 4 −3

Last updated: 29 January 2012.


  1. ^ History of Handball from, retrieved 7 February 2006
  2. ^ a b Medals Table – Ranking At Men's World Championships A 1938–1990 from, retrieved 7 February 2006
  3. ^ (German) Handball-Bundesliga diskutiert Reduzierung auf 16 Teams, by Erik Eggers, published by Der Spiegel online, 30 January 2006
  4. ^ (Norwegian) (ed) Arvid Eriksen Sportsboken 1994, pg. 291, Schibsted. ISBN 82-516-1543-7.
  5. ^ a b c (German) Von Porto bis Ljubljana, from, retrieved 7 February 2006
  6. ^ "EHF EURO 1994 – All Star Team announced". 12 June 1994. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  7. ^ EHF – Match details, retrieved 7 February 2006
  8. ^ Talant Dujshebaev, from, retrieved 7 February 2006
  9. ^ a b 2000 Men's European Championship – Finals, from EHF, retrieved 27 January 2006
  10. ^ (Swedish) Ryssland väntar i semifinalen, retrieved 27 February 2006
  11. ^ (German) Deutschland verpaßt Europameistertitel nur knapp – Schweden am Rande der Niederlage from, retrieved 27 February 2006
  12. ^ 2002 – Men's European Championship, – Finals – Germany v Sweden, retrieved 27 February 2006
  13. ^ (German) Vor der EM – Keine Panik", by Martin Kloth, published by, retrieved 27 February 2006
  14. ^ a b Deutschland ist im Finale
  15. ^ (German) Slowenien erreicht nach 27:25-Sieg über Kroatien das Finale, from, retrieved 27 February 2006
  16. ^ (German)Europameister! Deutschland gegen Gastgeber Slowenien ganz cool zum Titel, from, retrieved 27 February 2006
  17. ^ (Norwegian) Drama mot Kroatia, Webjørn Espeland, NRK, retrieved 19 July 2008
  18. ^ (Sami) Tyskland stoppade Sverige, Martin Ahlin, Eurosport, retrieved 19 July 2008

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