From 13 to 31 January, Egypt will host the World Men's Handball Championship.
The group stage and playoff matches will be held in Cairo, Borg al-Arab, the City of October 6 and the New Capital with empty stands.
Russian handball players will also be among the participants in the championship of the planet, but they will formally represent not their country, but the Russian Handball Federation.
Velimir Petkovich's wards will become the first Russian athletes who will have to compete under neutral status after the entry into force of sanctions by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Until December 2022, national teams will be prohibited from demonstrating their belonging to the country at the World Championships and using their flag and national anthem as symbols.
Previously, only athletes found themselves in such a situation in connection with the removal of the All-Russian Federation of Athletics (ARAF).
Shortly before the World Cup, the International Handball Federation explained how the WADA decision would have to affect the Russian team.
She will officially represent her national federation and will be called the HFR team.
Instead of a flag, players will use an unmarked graphic of the organization's logo.
The anthem will be a melody approved by the International Olympic Committee.
After a slight movement of the press, the form of the Russian national team begins to comply with the new rules ... # handballRussia # Egypt2021pic.twitter.com / 4uli7qmZQN
- Handball Russia (@rushandball) January 12, 2021
Otherwise, the Russian national team will not be any different from the rest of the participants of the World Cup in Egypt, of whom for the first time in the history of the tournament there will be 32. as the united national team of Korea) and Slovenia.
The three best teams will advance to the main round, and then two playoff participants will be determined in the new groups of six participants.
The elimination games will start from the quarterfinals stage.
The Russian team can hardly be called the favorite of the World Cup.
In the last three tournaments, domestic handball players did not make it into the top eight, and they have not won medals since 1999, when they lost to Sweden in the final of the planetary championship in Egypt.
A year ago, at the European Championship, the Russians performed extremely unsuccessfully, taking 22nd place after three defeats in a row, after which they were selected for the World Championship only thanks to the invitation of the organizers.
The head coach of the Russian national team will not have a number of important players at his disposal.
The day before departure to Egypt, left welterweight Alexander Shkurinsky was injured, and before that his colleagues Dmitry Santalov and Mikhail Vinogradov, as well as point guard Pavel Atman, were out of action.
This can significantly complicate the task of reaching the next round.
However, the national team of Belarus also has its own staffing problems, where a generational change is also taking place, and South Korea sent a youth team to Egypt, in which the oldest player is only 22 years old.
The World Championships in Egypt will be the first global championship competition in a game sport since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
In one place will gather teams from all parts of the world, except Oceania, which was difficult to imagine last year.
Coronavirus infection began to affect the conduct of the World Cup long before its start.
It was not possible to hold all the qualifying competitions, and then the quotas for the European teams were distributed according to the results of the last continental championship, and the USA and Chile were selected as representatives of the North and South America without qualifying.
Interestingly, after this news, the American federation announced that it would arrange an open casting for the formation of the national team, for which applicants need to send a 15-minute video demonstrating their physical skills.
Not all eligible countries will eventually be able to perform in Egypt.
Just two days before their first match, the Czech national team withdrew from the tournament.
She had too many positive tests for COVID-19 before arriving in Africa.
Chekhov was eventually replaced by North Macedonia.
A day later, it became known that the US national team would not play in Egypt either.
On the eve there were reports of an outbreak of coronavirus infection within the team, as a result of which 18 athletes passed positive tests at once.
Subsequently, the International Handball Federation (IHF) confirmed that the North American national team would not compete, but did not give specific numbers for the number of infected.
As reported by the IHF, instead of the US national team, the Swiss national team, which last took part in such a major tournament in 1995, will take over.
And in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in other teams, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine are ready to replace them.