Last Thursday morning the group draw for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was completed in Switzerland, to be held between July 24 and August 7. Argentina will be part of a plaintiff Group A, in which it will face its classic rival Brazil and four European powers.
For the first time, two American rivals will face up at the Olympic Games. Argentina and Brazil were in separate groups in Rio 2016, the only time there were two competitors from our continent. In their third consecutive participation, The Gladiators will also have four elite European opponents: Norway (bronze medalist in continental 2020 and finalist in two of the last three World Championships), France (fourth in the last World Cup and four-time Olympic medalist), Germany (bronze in Rio 2016) and Spain (European champion and bronze in the Egypt 2021 World Cup).
Compared to London 2012 and Rio 2016, this time The Gladiators will not cross, at least in the first phase, with Africans or Asians (as were Tunisia on the previous two occasions and Qatar in 2016). The only repeated rival will be France, before whom the Argentines fell 20-32 and 31-24 respectively.
“A European may have a higher level because the best teams are in Europe, but the Olympic Games are the best,” said coach Manolo Cadenas who, at 66, will have his first Olympic experience. “In our group, we have all of the strongest teams: only Denmark is missing instead of Norway. A priori Brazil and Argentina are at another level compared to those powers.”
The goal is clear: “You have to try to win a rival similar to us as Brazil is and then give a surprise. It is very difficult but it is an honor and a great challenge to compete with the best powers in the world in Tokyo.”
Argentine captain Gonzalo Carou also spoke after the handball draw in Tokyo 2020: “We knew it was going to be very complicated because the best ones arrive so we will have to be at our best level. Here in Spain we talk about the death group. But it has to give us the same thing: we want to compete and beat the best. Hopefully we will have a good tournament and give up to the level we have been having.”
Group A: Norway, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain and Argentina .
Group B: Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Japan, Egypt and Bahrain.
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