Norway was able to win their third title and now holds the three highest titles (World, European and Olympics) of handball at the same time with their win at the 2015 Women’s Handball World Championship. 24 teams were split into four groups of six teams where the top four advanced to the round of 16 in a single elimination tournament. The World Championships were held in over four different cities with the final being held in Herning, Denmark from December 5th to December 20th 2015.
Group A was topped by Montenegro though the campaign had a slow start as they lost a point in the first match when Serbia unexpectedly tied 28-28. Hungary would finish second in the group with wins over Denmark and Serbia as Denmark finished third in the group. The final advancing spot went to Serbia as they were able to secure two wins over Japan and Tunisia over their final two group games.
Netherlands and Sweden ended up in a tie for first place in Group B after Sweden came back from being down after halftime to tie the match 28-28. Netherlands would end up with first place due to a better goal differential. Poland finished third in the group though were made to work with it by winning by five goals over China and Cuba and needing a comeback to defeat Angola 29-27. They did look impressive in their one goal lose against Sweden, however. Angola would grab the final spot by defeating China 32-29 on the final group stage day.
Defending champions Brazil would have a slow start in Group C as they tied South Korea 24-24. The defending champions would end up topping the group though not as comfortably as they would like as they narrowly defeated Germany, Argentina and France. France was also shocked a bit by South Korea as they tied 22-22, but three wins and a single goal loss to Brazil was enough to take second in the group. Both Germany and South Korea ended up tied for the final two spots in the group, but Germany defeated South Korea 40-28 to win the tie breaker.
Group D was won by Russia as they won all five of their matches including over European champion Norway in a narrow 26-25 match and European runner-up Spain 28-26. Norway would take second over Spain as they defeated Spain on the final group stage day by a score of 29-26. Romania was the final team to reach the elimination round though they gathered their necessary wins over Puerto Rico and Kazakhstan during their first two matches.
The largest upset during the round of 16 was Romania’s win over Brazil. Romania started with a barrage of goals to lead 13-8 at halftime. Brazil made an attempt to comeback, but Romania would hold on to win 25-22. Other big moments in this round were come from behind wins by France and Poland as they won 22-21 and 24-23 over Spain and Hungary respectively despite being down at halftime.
The quarterfinals featured close matches all around as Netherlands, Poland and Norway defeated France, Russia and Montenegro 28-25, 21-20 and 26-25 respectively. The match between Denmark and Romania went to overtime as the two teams tied 27-27 at the final whistle. In the end it was Romania whom caused another upset to advance to the semifinals by a score of 31-30.
The first semi-final between Netherlands and Poland began with Netherlands taking a strong lead where they led 15-8 by halftime. Poland was never able to recover from the deficit as Netherlands qualified to the finals by a score of 30-25. In the other match Norway was able to take a bit of a lead over Romania, however, Romania would again force overtime after the match tied 27-27. Norway would this time get the better over Romania as they won the match 35-33 to advance to the finals.
The final was almost a mismatch as everything went right for Norway as they stormed to a 20-9 lead by halftime. While the Netherlands would prevent the gap from enlarging they would never close the gap by anything significant as Norway would go on to win the world title and an Olympic quota by a score of 31-25. Romania took the bronze medal after defeating Poland 31-22.
Since Norway was the European Champion and the World Champion takes priority the runner-up in the European Championship will now take the spot, in this case Spain. The World Championship also decided a lot of teams which will participate in one of the final Olympic qualification tournaments. Teams ranked from second to seventh (Netherlands, Romania, Poland, Russia, Denmark and France) have now assured their spot in that tournament while Europe and the Americas were given a second team spot to compete in those tournaments for being the top two continents at the World Championships. To be more specific the other six teams which will join the above six will be Sweden, Montenegro, Uruguay, Mexico, Japan and Tunisia.
- South Korea
- Puerto Rico
- Congo DR
- IHF. 2015 Women Handball World Championship Tournament Results. Access on December 20 2015.