Paris (AFP)

The French handball players fell into an affordable Euro-2022 qualifying group where their main opponents will be the Croats, according to the draw made on Thursday.

It will be necessary to finish in the first two of a group of four, which also includes the Czech Republic and Ukraine, to participate in the Euro organized by three ex-Yugoslav republics, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro, from November 4 to 20, 2022.

The Croats had created a surprise by reaching the semi-finals of Euro-2020 in Denmark in November but had been largely dominated by the French (30-19).

The Blue then failed to retain their 2018 title in the final against the Norwegians.

Their other two opponents, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, hardly have any credentials and qualifying shouldn't be a problem.

The French will play the first of their six games at the start of October 2021 and the last at the end of April 2022. They will have meanwhile participated in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Group 1: Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Lithuania

Group 2: Denmark, Romania, Austria, winner of the prequalifications

Group 3: Netherlands, Germany, Belarus, winner of the prequalifications

Group 4: France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ukraine

Group 5: Spain, Hungary, Slovakia, winner of the prequalifications

Group 6: Sweden, Serbia, Iceland, Turkey

Two qualified per group plus Norway, title holder, and the three organizing countries, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Montenegro.

© 2021 AFP