Handball is a massively exciting game to watch and wager upon and if there’s one nation that has taken Handball to its heart, it’s Denmark
The invitation to watch a handball match was well received, an enjoyable afternoon all round, if a tad blurred and with a squeaking of footwear on flooring that my hangover could have done without, but alas the same cannot be said for the jovial invitation to give the game a go myself, which in hindsight I should probably have refused. It was as I was helped from the ambulance into the Accident & Emergency department of a local hospital a couple of hours later that I marveled at the skill and effort it requires to play handball. I then fell down, threw up and passed out.
Denmark; The Home Of Handball
• Danes helped codify the game in the late 19th century
• Hugely popular in several countries across the region
• World Championships to be held in Qatar this year
Of course not everyone suffers cracked ribs playing handball, indeed millions of people manage it without anything worse than a sprain or embarrassing loss on points befalling them. It’s popularity in some nations is entirely equatable to that of soccer or ice hockey, and it draws big crowds of avid fans week in week out. Gambling news of my injuries won’t put you off, and they really shouldn’t, the game of handball probably deserves a closer, perhaps more objective, look, a look that isn’t, frankly, tainted by the memories of excruciating pain
Now if you’re going to talk about handball, you’re going to be talking about Denmark. The two are intrinsically linked and the recent victories of the national team has boosted its already deep-seated popularity amongst the 5.6 million Danes that occupy this ancient kingdom that sits proudly like a guardian between the North and Baltic seas, the main peninsula, Jutland, doing just that with the Danish Archipelago of 443 islands scattered about it, although only around 70 of those are populated to any degree.
Sharing much in the way of culture and language with it’s neighbors Sweden and Norway this small nation has a history dating back to the Eem interglacial period some 130,000 years before Christ. Archaeological digs have shown signs of permanent habitation from around 12,500 BC but it was perhaps the viking era for which the nation is best known, with all the longboats and raiding parties that brings to mind, during the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries, conquering pieces of France, Britain and Ireland along the way.
Handball Has A History
The history of handball itself is a little less singular with some the earliest references to a game of this ilk stemming from a game played by Roman women called “Exulsim Ludere” a pastime that seems to have meandered through the ages with various incarnations cropping up in places as diverse as medieval France, and Greenland’s Inuit population during the middle ages. It was perhaps only in the 19th century that a clear sport emerged from these various games, and it was in the latter stages that a codification of rules became possible.
Denmark led the way in this unification process that took the games variously played In Sweden, Norway and Germany (amongst others) and it was the Dane Holger Hielsen (gym teacher, military lieutenant and Olympic medalist) who first published a book of rules for handball in 1906, with the German trio of Heiser, Schelenz and Konigh publishing an improved evolution of those in 1917, with a further refinement made before the first international matches in 1925 between the Germans and Belgium.
The somewhat jundiced1936 Olympics was the first to host field handball matches but we return to Denmark and the other Nordic nations for the evolution of the indoor game we know today and that re-emerged into the Olympic spotlight during the 1972 Munich games, the Women’s game joining it at the ’76 games. It’s return to the limelight proved instantly popular both in and outside the Nordic nations with Eastern Europeans particularly fond of the sport and becoming a dominant force within the game over the subsequent years.
Naturally those that like to bet on sports in Denmark and elsewhere have long seen the leagues and cups of the sport covered by bookmakers but the advent of live betting on sites like ComeOn! Sportsbook have allowed a closer interaction only really facilitated by the growth of technology and the ability for coverage of games to be less dependent upon the somewhat bland sports choices of television broadcasters thanks to the internet. It has also allowed a whole new generation of fans to mass around their teams and nations.
Qatar Crops Up Again
The European championships are held every two years and constantly produces some of the best matches in the sport with teams from across the continent attempting to snatch the trophy from equally success-hungry rivals. The new format kicked off in 1994 with the championships being qualifier for the World Championships, and was promptly won by Sweden, the Danes only managing fourth place, but as the 21st century rolled around the Danes started a march on the title coming third three times in a row.
In 2008 the Danish national Men’s team beat out Croatia for the top spot in Europe, beating off Serbia in 2012 to win again, but in 2014 the loss to France in the final was a bitter pill to swallow and with successive second place finish at the world championships in 2011 and 2013 it is widely expected that the Danes will come out fighting in 2015 determined to be the bride not bridesmaid this time round. The World Championships will be held in Qatar this year and the European Championships in Poland next year, and at both expect a strong showing from the Danes.
The Danes will have to wait until 2019 to host the World Championships themselves (in conjunction with the Germans) but with some of the best facilities on the planet for the sport that won’t prove onerous to either country, and with Danish gambling laws now making a little more sense than they used to you can expect a fair degree of Krone (DKK) backing their team’s efforts. Indeed the Danes are quite apt to place a wager or two on the domestic leagues and await results with baited breath as many might elsewhere on soccer or the NFL.
ComeOn! Sportsbook is obviously not giving too much away offering just 1.26 on Kolding to win the 2014/15 season, with Skjern Handbold quite a way back at 8.75, Aalborg trailing at 9.75 and Silkeborg at 12.00 just ahead of Team TVIS Holsterbro on 13.00. There are of course some longshots in there too but with the season half way done anything could still happen and whilst the margins are slim there are definitely opportunities in the Danish Handboldligaen for the discerning gambling enthusiast to grab a win or two along the way.