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A new world

Handball

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Fiercely contested, tactical, skilful and with goals galore, handball is an exciting spectacle. Field handball made its Olympic debut at the Berlin 1936 Games, but the sport has been played indoors since Munich 1972. There are men’s and women’s events.
Spectator's Guide - Handball
  • Handball

Countries

Athletes

Events

20 363 2

Schedule & Results

Schedule & Results

Handball

Select the time zone:
Rio Time
My time zone
August21
Date Event Status
Sun 2110:30 Men's Bronze Medal Match
POL
Poland
GER
Germany
Finished
Sun 2114:00 Men's Gold Medal Match
DEN
Denmark
FRA
France
Finished

About

About

Aim of the game

Two teams of seven players pass the ball hand-to-hand and attempt to score by throwing it into the other team’s goal – the team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.

Why should you watch this?

Handball offers 60 minutes of high-tempo excitement, in which you might well lose track of the number of goals – it is not uncommon for both teams to score more than 20.

International Federation

IHF

Olympic debut

Berlin 1936 (men) and Montreal 1976 (women)

Rules
  • Lay-up

    Lay-up

    A technically difficult shot that requires a quick, high jump and – rather than a powerful throw – a deft lob over the goalkeeper

  • Thumb screw

    Thumb screw

    A technique whereby the player flicks his wrist to put spin on the ball, causing it to change direction when it bounces and trick the goalkeeper

  • Walking

    Walking

    A violation for walking more than three paces without bouncing it on the ground (dribbling)

Impress your friends

  • Handball was first played in Scandinavia and Germany at the end of the 19th century, with the modern rules drawn up in Denmark in 1898

    Handball was first played in Scandinavia and Germany at the end of the 19th century, with the modern rules drawn up in Denmark in 1898

  • Handball made its Olympic debut at the Berlin 1936 Games, but did not reappear until 36 years later after a change in format

    Handball made its Olympic debut at the Berlin 1936 Games, but did not reappear until 36 years later after a change in format

  • Men's handball returned to the Olympic Games as an indoor 7-a-side game at Munich 1972, with the women debuting 4 years later in Montreal

    Men's handball returned to the Olympic Games as an indoor 7-a-side game at Munich 1972, with the women debuting 4 years later in Montreal

  • During the Moscow 1980 Games, Yugoslavia defeated Kuwait 44-10 in the men’s tournament, still the biggest winning margin in an Olympic handball game

    During the Moscow 1980 Games, Yugoslavia defeated Kuwait 44-10 in the men’s tournament, still the biggest winning margin in an Olympic handball game

  • Favourites Norway and the USSR were beaten by the unfancied Republic of Korea's women's team at Seoul 1988

    Favourites Norway and the USSR were beaten by the unfancied Republic of Korea's women's team at Seoul 1988

  • Iceland surprised everyone at Beijing 2008, reaching the men's final before finally losing to France

    Iceland surprised everyone at Beijing 2008, reaching the men's final before finally losing to France

  • Norway’s women won the last two Olympic gold medals – at London 2012 and Beijing 2008 – and will be a force to be reckoned with in Rio

    Norway’s women won the last two Olympic gold medals – at London 2012 and Beijing 2008 – and will be a force to be reckoned with in Rio

  • In the men's event, France are the team to beat: they won golds in Beijing and London, and took a European and two world championships

    In the men's event, France are the team to beat: they won golds in Beijing and London, and took a European and two world championships

  • On its Olympic debut at the Berlin 1936 Games, handball was an 11-a-side game played on large, outdoor pitches – it moved to indoor gyms to avoid Europe’s harsh winters

    On its Olympic debut at the Berlin 1936 Games, handball was an 11-a-side game played on large, outdoor pitches – it moved to indoor gyms to avoid Europe’s harsh winters

  • Handball is the second most-played sport in Europe and of the 22 countries to have won Olympic medals, the only non-Europeans are the Republic of Korea and China

    Handball is the second most-played sport in Europe and of the 22 countries to have won Olympic medals, the only non-Europeans are the Republic of Korea and China

Duration

A game lasts for one hour, divided into two 30-minute halves.

If the game ends in a draw, the teams play 10 minutes of extra time, divided into two halves, followed by another 10 minutes if the score is still tied.

If the scores remain level after the two periods of extra time, there is a penalty shoot-out consisting of five 7m shots, followed by ‘sudden-death’ shots if necessary.

Do and don’ts

A player may hold the ball for up to three seconds or take three steps without ‘dribbling’ (bouncing the ball on the floor), any more and the game is stopped while possession passes to the other team.

The goalkeeper is the only player who can touch the ball with his or her feet, but only inside their goal area.

Outfield players cannot step into the goal area, although they can jump into it with the ball as long as they release it before they land.

Corner

A corner is only awarded if the ball hits an outfield player before going over the goal line – if it touches the goalkeeper, it is a goal throw.

Penalties

A free throw is taken from where the foul was committed, unless it was between the area and 9m line, in which case a free shot from the 9m line is awarded and the defenders must remain 3m from the thrower.

Serious fouls result in a penalty throw from the 7m mark with no defensive wall allowed.

Updates

Stats

Top Medalists

Men
swe
SWE
0 4 0 4
ROU
ROU
0 1 3 4
urs
URS
2 1 0 3
Women
KOR
KOR
2 3 1 6
NOR
NOR
2 2 1 5
DEN
DEN
3 0 0 3

Countries

Athletes

Athletes & Teams

Gender

Gender
Woman 50
Men 50
Women
Men

Age Range

Age Range
Under 15 0
16 - 20 4
21 - 25 26
26 - 30 44
31 - 40 26
Over 40 0
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