On November 29, the Ukrainian women's handball team embarked on a pivotal journey at the World Championship 2023, stepping back onto the global platform after a 14-year interlude. This major comeback highlights a compelling story of resilience and ambition, echoing their past triumphs in the early 2000s such as the second place at Euro 2000 in Romania, a commendable fourth place at the Women's World Championship 2003 in Croatia, and a bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Long-awaited Return to Championships
The Ukrainian team had been absent from both the European Championship and the World Championship since 2015. This year, however, they secured their place in a convincing fashion through qualification rounds. Their journey was marked by a confident victory over Luxembourg (66:24) and a surprising win against North Macedonia (55:44).
Challenging Group Stage
Their first hurdle in Group G is Brazil, the formidable 2013 world champions. This encounter will be followed by games against Spain, the runners-up from the 2019 World Championship, and Kazakhstan. However, the Ukrainians face an uphill battle without their key player, Irina Glibko, who is sidelined due to health issues.
Advancement and Expectations
The tournament's group stage will decide the top three teams from each group that will advance to the main stage. The final rounds will be played in a single-match format, adding an extra layer of suspense and excitement. The Ukrainian team, led by goalkeeper Maria Gladun, is brimming with determination and high hopes despite the challenges, aiming to make their mark in the championship.