Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team. The team with the most goals after two periods of 30 minutes wins.
Modern handball is usually played indoors, but outdoor variants exist in the form of field handball (which was more common in the past) and beach handball. American handball and Gaelic handball are completely different sports.
Goals are scored quite frequently; usually both teams score at least 20 goals each, and it is not uncommon for both teams to score more than 30 goals. This was not true in the earliest history of the game, when the scores were more akin to that of ice hockey. But, as offensive play has improved since the late 1980s, particularly the use of counterattacks (fast breaks) after a failed attack from the other team, goal scoring has increased.
The Handball World Championships will take place in January 2011 in Sweden. 24 teams will battle against each other for the World Champion title in handball. France has qualified as reigning champions and Sweden as host nation. During the European Championships in Austria in January 2010 another three European teams did qualify: Poland, Iceland and Croatia.
Three Asian teams qualified in February: Japan, Korea and Bahrain. At the same time the African qualifications took place. Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria qualified from the African continent. The remaining 13 teams played qualification matches in 2010.
From Europe the following nine teams qualified in June: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain. Australia made it from the Oceanian continent and Argentina, Brazil and Chile from Panamerica.