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A little bit of hope
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 10 - 01 - 2019

Egypt suffered a poor start in the 2019 World Handball Championship currently taking place in Germany and Denmark, losing their first two matches in the preliminary round against Sweden 27-24, then Qatar 28-23.
But, on Monday, the African champions, thanks to goalkeeper Essam Al-Tayar and man of the match Ali Zinedinne, edged Argentina 22-20 to raise the team's spirits and bring back hope of qualifying for the main round of the two-week event which began Saturday. Egypt still have two matches remaining against Hungary on Wednesday and Angola Thursday after Al-Ahram Weekly went to print.
Egypt play in Group D in Copenhagen with Sweden, Qatar, Argentina, Angola and Hungary.
Victories are badly needed for the Egyptians in order to secure a place among the top three in the six-team group. Only the top three teams from each group qualify to the main round of the tournament. However, if Egypt fails to achieve two consecutive wins, it will drop to either fourth, fifth or sixth place after which they would play in the consolation event, the President's Cup, for the twelve teams which have been eliminated. Two years ago, Egypt nearly qualified for the final eight after they almost caused a major upset against Croatia.
Despite the two present defeats, experts believe Egypt had a sturdy defence in comparison to the rest in the tournament, but lacked alternatives in attack.
The 26th edition of the World Championship sees the participation of 24 teams from six continents: hosts Germany and Denmark and reigning world champions France in addition to qualifiers Tunisia, Egypt and Angola from Africa; Qatar, Bahrain, Korea and Saudi Arabia from Asia; Spain, Serbia, Iceland, Russia, Hungary, Austria, FYR Macedonia, Sweden, Norway, and Croatia from Europe; and Argentina, Brazil and Chile representing Pan America.
According to the regulations, the 24 teams will go through the preliminary round which is played in four groups of six teams each in Berlin, Munich, Herning and Copenhagen. The top three teams of each group go to the main round which is played in two groups in the cities of Cologne and Herning while the teams ranked four to six in the preliminary round groups continue to the President's Cup played over two days in Cologne and Copenhagen. Four teams from the main round groups qualify for the semi-finals that are played in Hamburg. The final and the bronze match are played in Herning.


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