Iran will square off against Slovenia on the first round of fixtures in the main round group phase at the IHF Men’s World Handball Championship in Krakow, Poland, on Wednesday.
Montenegrin head coach Veselin Vujovic’s men fell to a 35-22 defeat against two-time champion Spain in in Krakow’s TAURON Arena on Monday to finish third in Group A of the preliminary round.
Skipper Mojtaba Heidarpour, Pouya Norouznejad, and Salaman Barbat scored four goals apiece for Iran, while Spainish duo Ferran Solé and Alex Dujshebaev each contributed with a game-high six.
“It was a good match for us, but we need time for Iranian handball,” said Iran’s Mohammad-Mehdi Behnamnia.
“With one of the best coaches in the world in Veselin Vujovic, we can achieve our plan in the future. We are here to learn and adapt things, but in a big match like against the Spaniards, they have two of the best goalkeepers in the world with good defense and attack and tonight was a good school for us.”
Taking part at the competition for only a second time – after the 2015 debut – Iran will be joined by Spain and Montenegro in Group I, which also features six-time world champion France, cohost Poland and Slovenia.
Slovenia finished second in Group B, thanks to back-to-back victories over Saudi Arabia (33-19) and Poland (32-23) before a 35-31 loss to France.
Iran got off to a history-making start in the tournament, beating Chile 25-24 in a nail-biting contest on the opening day – a maiden victory for Iran in the history of the event – but suffered a 34-31 defeat against Montenegro in its second outing.
Vujovic’s will then take on France on Friday before facing Poland two days later.