National teams are back in action ahead of the World Championship
Ahead of the 2023 IHF World Men's Championship that will be held in Poland and Sweden from 11 to 29 January, club competitions are on a short break. December is regularly reserved for the national team preparations. The 32 countries from the five confederations will play their matches in the nine host cities. Four SEHA – Gazprom League countries will participate in the 28th edition. Among these four countries, there will also be plenty of SEHA players who will wear their national team jerseys. Before the action in January, national teams will do their gathering and play preparation matches.
The Croatian national team will have their official gathering on 27 December. In the preparation period, Croatia will play two matches against Italy. The first one is scheduled for 29 December at 20:15 CET in Pula while the other one is in Porec on 20 December, and it will be a closed type of match. A team led by Hrvoje Horvat will have some well-known SEHA players. Nexe’s Dominik Kuzmanovic and Marin Jelinic, PPD Zagreb’s Dino Slavic, Paolo Kraljevic, Ivan Cupic, Zeljko Musa, Zvonimir Srna, Nikola Grahovac and Luka Lovre Klarica will do their best not just against Italy but also at the championship. Just ahead of their trip to Sweden, the Croatian national team will also play at the Croatia Cup against North Macedonia and Israel.
Before the World Championship, Hungary will play two preparation matches against their neighbours – Slovenia. The first encounter is reserved for 5 December at 18:00 CET in Ljutomer. The second match will be played on 7 December in Nagykanizsan at 16:00 CET. The team led by former SEHA Final 4 MVP, Chema Rodriguez will be eager to achieve a better result than they did at the previous editions. Telekom Veszprem’s stars Zoran Ilic, Adrian Sipos and Patrik Ligetvari together with PPD Zagreb’s Csaba Leimeter are SEHA representatives in the Hungarian team.
Kiro Lazarov’s team will play two preparation matches against Montenegro. The first encounter will be played on 27 December while the second one on 28 December. The Macedonian team gather on 20 December in Skopje. North Macedonia have some well-known SEHA stars such as Vardar’s Martin Tomovski, Goce Georgievski, Dejan Manaskov and Filip Taleski. Also, Eurofarm Pelister’s Marko Kizic, Cvetan Kuzmanovski, Zarko Peshevski, Nenad Kosteski and Pavle Atanasijevikj are on Lazarov’s list for the championship that is ahead of us.
This week is reserved for the beginning of the official preparation period for the Serbian national team. Spanish coach, Toni Gerona and his team will play two encounters against Sweden. The first match will be played on 6 January while the other one is reserved for 9 January. Both matches will be played in Sweden. Telekom Veszprem’s goalkeeper Vladimir Cupara will be in charge of keeping the net clean as much as possible. Among Cupara, Telekom Veszprem’s line player Dragan Pechmalbech, Vojvodina’s Zivan Pesic, Luka Rogan, Milan Milic, PPD Zagreb’s Stefan Dodic and Nexe’s Predrag Vejin are players from the SEHA – Gazprom League. Coach Toni Gerona also called the B team where we have Partizan’s Andrej Trnavac, Ivan Micic, Stefan Petric, Nikola Zecevic and Vojvodina’s Milos Grozdanic and Miljan Pusica.