BUDAPEST, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 2022 EHF European Handball Men's Championship, co-organized by Hungary and Slovakia and set for January 13-30, could very well prove itself to become the most unpredictable competition ever, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The list of players missing the tournament due to injury or illness posted on Handball World on December 28 has been updated several times a day ever since, with more and more news of coronavirus cases.
There will be 24 national teams competing in six groups in the 15th European Championship and 65 matches will take place in 18 days.
The venues are the MVM Dome in Budapest, the Pick Arena in Szeged, and the Phoenix Arena in Debrecen (all in Hungary), the Steel Arena in Kosice and the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava (both in Slovakia).
The first two finishers in each of the six groups advance to the semifinals in Budapest and Bratislava. The matches of the final weekend will be held in the Hungarian capital.
This will be the 13th continental tournament in which the Hungarian team will participate, but it will be the first men's adult world competition in the sport, hosted in part by Hungary.
The best European Championship performance for co-host Hungarians so far was a sixth place in 1998, the team was placed ninth in the last EHF EURO, and this year the Hungarian federation is expected to be among the top eight.
Denmark's Rasmus Boysen, one of the most well-known and well-prepared sports experts, predicted that Olympic champions Denmark would win the continental tournament, followed by Hungary in second place, Sweden in third place and Spain in fourth place.
Because of the pandemic, fans can use only a quarter of the spectator capacity in Slovakia, while there are no restrictions in Hungary, arenas will go full house.