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2019 Men’s World Championship 2019 Men’s World Championship
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Date: 7/20/2018

Women’s Group C: Brazil, Thailand, Russia, USA



6,1,3,3,1,1,2 – that is not a telephone number but the ranking places of the Brazilian women’s team at the IHF Beach Handball World Championships since it started back in 2004. Having been outside of the medals just once, the Brazilian team will be one of the nations everyone is looking to get the better of such is their influence on the sport which has its spiritual home on the South American sand.


They have also won the past two World Games, in 2013 and 2017, as well as in 2005 and been dominant in Pan America, winning all four of the five editions they have entered since it started. In March in Oceanside, USA, Brazil won all their games 2-0 – versus USA, Chile, Argentina in the preliminary round, Trinidad and Tobago in the quarter-final, Paraguay in the semi-final and Uruguay in the final.


The 2017 World Games in Poland in July again saw Brazil win all of their preliminary round matches (vs Australia, Poland and Chinese Taipei) and then Tunisia 2-0 (quarter-finals), Spain (semi-finals 2-0) and continental rivals Argentina, in the final 2-0.


Despite finishing as runners-up at Budapest 2016 to Spain, Brazil, in some ways were relieved as they admitted it was nice to have competition right at the top after being so dominant for so long.


While beach handball is one of the most welcoming and friendly sports in the world, the Brazilian teams go the extra mile, arriving to their games singing, dancing and playing instruments – all part of the psychology of winning which saw left wing Nathalie Sena, pivot Renata Santiago and specialist Camila Souza, as MVP, named in the Budapest 2016 All-Star Team.


Coach Marcio Magliano has stepped up to the position after being assistant back in 2016 and will look at his team, complete with numerous key players across all positions. Although Sena and Souza have not been named in the provisional Kazan 2018 squad, Santiago has, and in addition to right wing Patricia Scheppa and others, she will be a big threat to all of their opponents throughout the tournament.


Follow the Brazil team on the official federation website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.



Having appeared in the last three editions of the IHF Beach Handball World Championships, the Thailand women’s team have finished in and around the top 10 on each occasion – an 11th-place finish in 2012 was followed by two ninth-place finishes in 2014 and 2016.


Winning the 2017 Asian Beach Handball Championship on home sand in Pattaya in May 2017 saw them defend their title, winning it for the third time and grabbing their ticket to Kazan 2018 in the process, but wins over China (2-1), Vietnam (2-0) and Chinese Taipei (2-0) do not necessarily mean automatic success in Russia as they will be tested in a group not only featuring one of the very best teams in the world, Brazil, but also hosts Russia, backed by a vociferous fanbase and the USA, who will be supremely motivated in their first-ever World Championship.


Thailand lost all five of their games at Budapest 2016 in the preliminary round without winning a set – against Hungary, Italy, Argentina, Australia and Spain and the rest of the tournament did not look being much fun for the Asian champions but they managed to hit the reset button and win three in a row – against Poland (2-1), Uruguay (2-0) and Tunisia (2-0) – in the consolation round and then their 9/10 placement match – beating Poland again in a penalty shoot-out (7:6) in a low-scoring game which finished (11:8, 8:10).



A 10-year break from the IHF Women’s Beach Handball World Championship ends with Kazan 2018 for Russia. After winning the first-ever World Championship back in 2004 in Egypt, the Russian women’s team finished with bronze in 2006 and a fifth-place in 2008 before disappearing from the world scene.


Led by coach Vitaly Volynchenko since 2015, the host nation will have the extra pressure of entertaining a partisan home crowd in Kazan.


Volynchenko was an assistant coach of the national team in 2002-2007 and during this period he finished as an EHF EURO champion in 2002 and 2004, silver medallist in 2004 and won the 2005 World Games title and he is looking forward to seeing his team in action on home sand.


The provisional squad features all but two players who have played beach handball for Russia, except for Kristina Kozhokar and Alyona Nosikova – wing players who are eager to perfect their beach handball skills.


The Russian team have been preparing in Yeisk, Krasnador working on technical elements, shoot-outs and traditional training and the players participated in the Russian National Cup and first rounds of the Russian National Championship, mainly with Volynchenko’s team Stavropoliye-SKFU. Further national team training camps were held in Stavropol before the team arrived in Kazan on 16 July following additional national championship matches.


While Volynchenko admitted that the competitive environment on the national level could be higher, the seven teams in the championship they faced and eight in the cup helped prepare his team competitively and he is extremely positive about the benefits of beach handball at the end of a tough season of “classic” handball as he calls it.


“Beach handball helps to extend season for the players who finished early and didn’t play in national team competitions,” he told the Kazan 2018 website. “It gives them an opportunity to switch and concentrate on another job that helps to let go of the difficult classic season, but beach handball is a very particular physical exercise; it’s difficult to jump and there is very little time for decision-making – when I worked with the men’s beach handball team, I tried inviting good players from classic handball and almost none of them showed good play – it requires years of training.


“But Russian teams today are full of talented youth with good physical training, and that gives me hope.”


He singled out Kseniya Dyachenko, Snezhana Makhneva, Maria Belova and Anastasiia Makina as four key players and cited the Krasnodar, Stavropol and Volgograd regions as key areas in Russia for beach handball.


“I think it will be a very strong and interesting championship,” he admitted. “Of course, we will aim for victory, but we need to work hard, and we will try to show a fair competition to the best teams from all over the world – we will count on our fans support.”


His Russian side had the luxury of choosing their own group for Kazan 2018 and opted to be drawn against Brazil, Thailand and the USA, with the last two teams Volynchenko admitting he did not have video of to study pre-tournament.


The most recent international tournament for Russia was the 2017 EHF European Beach Handball Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, held in June 2017 on Lake Jarun.


Russia opened their campaign impressively, beating Budapest 2018 fourth-place team Hungary 2-0, thanks to 13 points from Dyachenko and 12 from Makina, a 2-0 loss to Netherlands followed before a 2-0 win against Germany and 2-0 loss to Denmark.


Third place in the group was enough to go through to the main round where Russia beat the hosts 2-0, Poland 2-0 and Ukraine 2-0. A quarter-final against Norway went to penalties after Russia had won the first set 21:20, but the Norwegians, on their way to winning the title, won 15:14.


But Russia had further wins in the bank, winning both their 5-8 placement matches – against France 2-1 and Greece 2-0 – to take a fifth place and hopefully for the fans and players alike a winning momentum into Kazan.


As well as the official channels for Kazan 2018, you can follow the Handball Federation of Russia via Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


United States of America

Early March on the sand in Oceanside, USA – the USA women’s team are in tears as their dream of travelling to Kazan falls short on their own sand.


Early May – the IHF confirms that the IHF Beach Handball Working Group has proposed that the IHF Executive Committee awards a wild card to the USA for Kazan.


A lot can change in a few months, but the USA will grab their opportunity, awarded in view of the upcoming ANOC World Beach Games 2019 and the World Games 2021 – both of which will be hosted by the USA – and the need for their women’s team to be more competitive.


Having started with an expected 2-0 loss against Brazil in Oceanside, the USA women then lost to Argentina 2-0 in their second preliminary match and, suddenly, the pressure was on at home. They managed to overcome their nerves, though, and beat Chile 2-1 in a shoot-out to go into a quarter-final match against Paraguay, which was effectively a Kazan play-off.


But heartbreak followed as an extremely tight match saw both sides win a set 15:14 and in the shoot-out Paraguay edge out their hosts 5:4 to win 2-1. The Americans then went on to lose their 5/6 placement match against Argentina 2-1 as well but for coach Juliano de Oliveira and his team, including key players Marilyn Elder (defensive specialist) and right-wing Rachel Wong there was a silver lining eventually.


With the news, de Oliveira and the USA Team Handball Federation held open try-outs in June for new players as well as a variety of fundraisers to help promote the trip to Russia.


The spiritual home of beach handball in the United States, certainly for the women, is Hermosa Beach, Florida, home of the women’s team since September 2016.


“My personal goal is to learn how other countries play and incorporate the things I see into my own style of playing, and develop as a player,” said national team player Missy Sponagle to local media about her upcoming trip to Kazan as the USA prepare to play against their familiar continental rivals Brazil, a team they have built up a close relationship to with numerous training, playing and coaching exchanges.


“With time, hard work and more tournament experience, we will be among the top teams within five years,” said the Brazilian Oliveira about the USA’s next few years in the sport. His squad for Kazan incorporates players from Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and, of course, California.


“We have excellent players in our roster,” said de Oliveira. “Great players in each position,” he concluded to local media.


Follow the USA beach handball team via their official federation website, Facebook and Instagram.