Iran was pitted alongside Spain, Montenegro, and Chile in Group A of the 2023 IHF Men’s World Handball Championship.
On Saturday, the draw for the showdown in Poland and Sweden – starting January 11 next year – took place in the Polish city of Katowice, which will also host the opening match of the competition, where 27 teams were split into eight groups.
The remaining five slots – belonging to Africa – will be decided after the African Handball Championship – hosted by Egypt from July 9-19.
Iran will kick off its campaign against Chile, which finished third at the South and Central American Championship in January, in Krakow, Poland, on January 12.
Montenegrin head coach Veselin Vujovic will steer Iran against his home country on January 14, before the Asian side concludes the group fixtures with an encounter against Spain – two-time world champion in 2005 and 2013 and a 2021 bronze medalist – two days later.
Top three teams of each group will progress to the second-round group phase, with eight bottom sides divided into two groups of the so-called President’s Cup to play for the 25th-32nd spots.
Iran secured a second berth at the World Championship – following the 2015 event – thanks to a fourth-place finish at the Asian Handball Championship in Saudi Arabia in January.
Under former Spanish coach Manuel Montoya Fernandez, Iran edged four-time Asian champion Kuwait 27-26 – courtesy of a Sajjad Esteki’s goal with three seconds left on the clock – in the quarterfinals, but suffered a last-four defeat against eventual champion Qatar, before being beaten by the host in the third-place match.