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Spain face Germany and Austria en route to EHF EURO 2016

The qualification draw in Warsaw was the next stop for the 28 remaining national teams on the road to the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland

When 28 teams get drawn to their respective European Championship qualification groups, there are always wishes that get fulfilled and wishes that do not - the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification draw on Friday in Warsaw was no exception to this.

In particular EHF EURO 2014 bronze medallists and world champions, Spain, were drawn into a tough Group 7 with EHF EURO 2004 champions, Germany, as well as Austria and Finland.

"With Germany, Austria and Finland this is a very difficult group. Germans will be really eager to win the group as they missed the previous EURO, said Spanish line player Julen Aguinagalde.

"When we met Germany at the quarter-final of the World Championship, it was a very difficult match. We won it only in the last minutes and I can say it was one of the best games at the championships."

Germany's head coach Martin Heuberger said: "This is a tough task, but something we can solve. I hope that we learned from failing to qualify the last time." 

"We know Spain and Austria very well; Finland surprised in the play-offs against Romania. We will only play well and be successful, if prepare in the best way possible and focus on sports matters only."

For some teams the road to Poland might look easier: Defending champions, France, were drawn to Group 6 alongside FYR Macedonia, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

"I think we avoid edsome of the big names that were in Pot 2. But playing in Macedonia is probably the hardest away game we could get so we'll have to be careful about that," said France's Jerome Fernandez.

"We might be favourites, but these three teams will compete among themselves for the second place, and they might want to get some surprise points against us."

EHF EURO 2014 silver medallists, Denmark, face Belarus, Lithuania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"It looks to be a fine draw for us. Of course, Belarus is a team who may be able to tease us a bit, but still they are a team we should be able to defeat. All in all a good group for us, I think," said Denmark's Casper U. Mortensen.

Croatia were drawn to Group 1 with Norway, Netherlands, Turkey.

Full EHF EURO 2016 qualification overview:

Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4Group 5Group 7Group 6

Qualification and final tournament system

The first qualification matches will be played at the end of October 2014. Rounds 3 and 4 will be played in April 2015, Rounds 5 and 6 in June 2015.

The top two ranked teams of each group and the best third ranked team overall qualify for the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 in Poland which takes from 15 to 31 January 2016.

For the first time the matches of the final tournament will be played over 17 days. The change will see the main round played over seven instead of five days, with three of the four match days played with two matches per day instead of three matches.

The aim is to make the competition more attractive to television and fans as well as giving players more rest between matches.

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