(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Fawad Hussain | The Peninsula
Doha: After winning back-to-back friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Qatar have set their sights on their opening match of the IHF Men's World Championship against Angola on Friday, looking to start their campaign on a winning note.
The biennial tournament will be co-hosted by Germany and Denmark from January 10 to 27. France, who have won the 2015 (Doha) and 2017 (Paris) World Championship editions will be once again the hot favourites in the event.
Qatar, the Asian Games gold medalists, underwent extensive preparations for the challenge, also involving a two-week training tour of Spain besides several friendly matches.
Last week, Qatar defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 33-16 and 30-22 in two friendly matches in Doha. After attending the final training session on Tuesday, Qatar are scheduled to leave for Copenhagen on Wednesday to take part in the competition.
On Friday, coach Valero Rivera announced the final squad for the World Championship and Youssef Al Moallem, the administrative manager of the national team, said the players were confident of giving their best in the tough event.
'It will be a tough tournament but the players are confident of giving their best, said Al Moallem.
'Wins in the friendly matches have set a good rhythm for the team. The players have put in a lot of hardwork in preparations and every member of the team is determined to give his best, he added.
'Our first target will be to qualify for the second round and we are hopeful of achieving good results, Al Moallem said.
Qatar are in Group D which also includes Egypt, Hungary, Sweden and Argentina. After playing against Angola, Al Annabi will play against Egypt on January 13 in their second group match. Qatar's next two games are scheduled on January 14 and 16 against Hungary and Sweden respectively. They will play their last preliminary round match against Argentina on January 17.
Al Annabi's best performance in the IHF Men's World Championship came at home in 2015 when they stunned many top ranked teams on it's way to the final where they went down fighting against France. Qatar won gold medal in Asian Games after defeating Bahrain in Jakarta last August.
Meanwhile, World champions France are in Group A which also includes Russia, Germany, Serbia, Brazil and South Korea. Group B comprises Spain, Croatia, Macedonia, Iceland, Bahrain and Japan while co-hosts Denmark spearhead Group C that also has Norway, Austria, Tunisia, Chile and Saudi Arabia. Top three teams from each group will enter the next stage after preliminary round.