These European countries where handball is king…

Handball is a sport that does not leave anyone indifferent. And this was done especially abroad. But which nations vibrate the most for the small round ball?

If, in France, handball resists against other sports such as football, rugby or basketball, in the world, some countries have given the place that this sport deserves and which has its origins in the early 1900s in Germany and Denmark. Sonderjyske player Noah Gaudin was able to gauge the importance of the hand in Denmark on his arrival.

The Dane loves sports. Handball especially with football. It is the national sport with a strong selection and a reference. It plays a lot by hand. It is a land of hands. It plays well. There is good training. Reigning World and Olympic Champion. It feels in the championship. “Germany is also a reference and its championship, the Bundesliga, remains the number 1 in the world. Former player of Kiel, with whom he won the Champions League in 2010, and of Gummersbach, Igor Anic had been able to judge the German fervor.

Germany is a country that loves sport, be it football, handball, basketball, hockey, boxing… They watch everything. The Germans are more spectators than supporters even if there are exceptions like everywhere. Playing Kölnarena in front of 20,000 people is incredible. Just like playing Rhein-Neckar, Kiel or Hamburg. We do not see it in France. Although it is progressing. We are far from the 10,000 seats in cinemas in Germany. The people we recognize on the street. It is an audience of connoisseurs even if I was not at the level of fame of Karabatic, Omeyer or Narcisse. »

Rudy Seri had also been able to see the madness of the hand in Germany while playing in Sélestat, in Alsace. ” I saw matches in Germany. Even in the small divisions, there are people. Many people come. It’s another population that will see the hand. The intensity of the matches means that there are means put in for the handball. There are great players. When I was in Sélestat, we went to see Rhein-Neckar Löwen who plays in Mannheim and we could see that there was a crazy atmosphere. They have big halls which helps to get hype. It was a great experience to see German handball. »

“A crazy atmosphere in Germany”

For his part, Micke Brasseleur was able to discover Germany with the HSC 2000 Cobourg, a few years ago. Today at the CSM Constanta, in Romania, he can thus compare the passion that animates the two populations.

I was surprised by the fervor in Germany. When I made my first match, I realized that. It was not spectators who saw us. Afterwards, I couldn’t enjoy it as I would have liked. I had left in disaster, the integration had not been great. That’s why I went back to Romania this summer. There is less fervor even if it remains an important sport. My adaptation is simpler. I speak English better. The country wants to have handball assessed. It gives itself the means of development. The level is substantial. Just like Poland and Kielce, which Nedim Remili discovers on a daily basis.

Football is the major sport in many countries. Volleyball is also followed in Poland. But handball, especially in Kielce, remains an important moment. Even when we play in the league. There is a fan base that supports us, even at plus 10 or plus 12 goals. There is minimal atmosphere. My family, especially my father and my brother, were impressed by the atmosphere. Everyone was in yellow. We support the team as much as possible. It’s a flagship sport with a lot of posters of us in the city. To Warsaw. »

Beyond evoking the fervor of a country, Rudy Seri explains rather that handball is above all a passion that animates cities. After having seen it, in Spain, in Irun with CS Bidasoa, two years ago, it is in North Macedonia and at HC Eurofarm Pelister in Bitola that he finds it today.

Southern Europe overwhelmed by handball popularity

There is not a country. It is above all the cities that are passionate about handball. I had the chance to do Irun and Bitola today. These are prominent places. Everyone is crazy about handball. It is a pride to represent this city. In the Balkans, handball represents a great history, but it is difficult for me to speak of the passion of a country compared to other disciplines. In Spain, the room was always full in Irun. On the other hand, outside, there were fewer people. People are more football fans. In Macedonia there is a passion for handball. Bitola fills up on big matches or the European Cup. In France, only Nantes and Montpellier will develop the rooms. »

In Slovenia, Igor Anic had also filled the halls with Celje. ” In Slovenia it is smaller. But Celje remains a cradle of European handball. There are good players who came from the school of Celje and Slovenia. Balkan people love handball. All the countries of the former Yugoslavia manage to rise in the best world rankings. Over the past 20 years, these are the countries that produce the best players. Just look at the squads of the top 10 clubs in the world. It’s cultural for them. These are countries that are made for handball. People know handball. »

Unlike the Japanese that Igor Anic meets on a daily basis now as a Daido Steel Phoenix player.

Japan is a country of 120 million people. It’s a big country with a lot of people. Handball is not well known. People often ask me what I do for a living when people see me on the street. As I am a tall, sturdy, bald expatriate with tattoos… I say that I am a professional sportsman and you immediately think of basketball, rugby or volleyball. We rarely think of handball. There are no great fervors. There are some nice rooms though. Public level, we are more about 1000 or 2000 spectators. Only Luc Abalo’s Tokyo Zeekstar is investing. Japan is not a land of handball, but there is quality. »

However, after more than 15 years of career, the 2015 world champion has not forgotten the warmest atmosphere he found in his career.

I will always remember a Champions League match, with Montpellier, against Veszprem, in 2004. I was 17 years old. We were in the old room which was smaller. The extension of the bench was in the gallery. I come back to the hotel and my ears were ringing like after a concert with the music on full blast. Hungarian fans are real handball fanatics and madmen who can rock a game. We also find this provocative side in the Balkans, in Romania, Bulgaria or even Russia. Scandinavians are more polite and calm like Germans. »

It is now up to France to live up to the fervor that handball can generate in the world. She has already proven in the past that she is capable.

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