One question: who will win the 2013 WCh?
The EHF, the IHF, coaches Heine Jensen and Alain Portes, players Andrea Lekić, Allison Pineau and Jovanka Radičević answer.
The EHF writes:
Defending champions, Norway (seeded in Group C), and EHF EURO 2012 gold medallists, Montenegro (seeded in Group A), are once again among the hot contenders for a medal, and so are Hungary, the bronze medallists of the EHF EURO 2012 and the hosts of the upcoming EHF EURO, together with Croatia, in December 2014. The Serbian team on home court is always a force to reckon with, as the men’s team proved by winning silver in January 2012 and the women’s squad by its fourth place in December 2012.
The IHF emphasizes:
But the list of main contenders for the medals is as long as never before: Up to ten, eleven teams are aiming for the semi-finals, with some big names.
Norway arrive at Serbia as the defending World Champions after entering the top of the podium by a final victory against France in Sao Paolo two years ago. All four 2011 semi-finalists are part of the 2013 edition, as also Denmark and Spain have made it to the event.
But in contrast to 2011 two former Yugoslavian are aiming high: Host Serbia and European champions Montenegro, who took the biggest success in all sports by becoming European champions one year ago after beating Norway in a thrilling final after two extra-times in Belgrade.
Aside, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Netherlands (after eliminating Russia in the qualification) build the strongest phalanx of an overall of 12 European teams in Serbia.
Heine Jensen predicts:
There is a big group of favourites. Norway and Montenegro are favourites, but Brazil and the French team too. Let me make a joke: In this tournament the world record holder in championship winning is without chance.
Alain Portes agrees:
Norway and Montenegro are favourites in my eyes.
The official website has interviewed Andrea Lekić:
I believe that Montenegro, as European Champion, can be very confident about it. There is Norway as well, as the current World Champion. To this list I would like to add Brazil, as well as South Korea, who played an extraordinary Olympic tournament last year. I hope that with a good performance we can also have a chance to fight for the Championship.
… Allison Pineau
I won’t count France among the favorites, because our last performance in Serbia. Norway and Montenegro are definitely the favorites for the gold.
and Jovanka Radičević
It’s going to be a though and uncertain championship. Usually there are surprises on World Championships, but I know one. Whoever plays against us, will have a hard time.
Is this going to be the third championship in a row disputed between Norway and Montenegro?
What can newcomers Serbia, Poland and Czech Republic bring to the world stage?
France, Denmark, Germany, Romania? Are you there yet?
Do I see a non European contender?
The answers, in two weeks.