Major upset – Spain eliminated before the Main Round 

The highly anticipated match-up between France and Germany delivered quality handball with a slight advantage for ”The Blues”. Spain´s stumble in the premiere was nothing compared to the slip when Austria tied and won second spot.

Another evening of top-class sport, and still it became an historic one since Spain won´t take part in Euro 2024 onwards. 

Five times in a row the giant won a regional medal. Austria dethroned the favorite by a solid level throughout and exceptional presence in the planning and execution of Janko Bozovic´s chance to 33–33.

The rest of the games couldn’t match the significant status of Spain´s exit. The first loss of the host nation bore the mark of high-paced French action and Nikola Karabatic tournament debut. 

The audience in the German capital couldn´t be altoghether pleased with 30–33 for the home favourites. Juri Knorr´s creativity and the tremendous workload compensated a bit for the loss and Germany will seek revenge in the Main Road.

Hungary lost Bence Banhidi in an early red card sequence, nonetheless Iceland was left behind by eight goals. Hungary bring two points to the Main Round and Iceland start from scratch.

Croatia was in control against Romania (31–25) to complete undefeated status in the group stage. Goran Perkovac was able to split the minutes between the players and some energy before leaving Mannheim for Cologne.

North Macedonia passed Switzerland in the bottom battle of group A. A very focused finish from 26–27 to 29–27 meant that North Macedonia improved from two previous losses. Andy Schmid bowed out for Switzerland with impressive twelve goals, come next summer the veteran is set to take over as coach in the national team. 

Group A, North Macedonia–Switzerland 29–27 (13–9)
France–Germany 33–30 (17–15)
Group B, Croatia–Romania 31–25 (16–12) 
Spain–Austria 33–33 (15–17)
Group C, Serbia–Montenegro 29–30 (14–15)
Iceland–Hungary 25–33 (13–15)