What Cricket is for England, Handball is for Germany: the second most popular sport behind football. The European Championships in Poland created a new hype around the German team after years of mediocrity.
Somewhat outside the English attention span, many fans of indoor sports have followed the European Championships in Handball that were held in Poland over the last three weeks.
As with all modern sports, there were numerous antique predecessors: in Roman times, women played harpastum and throughout the Middle Ages, various games where balls were thrown and caught existed in Europe. It was however, around the turn of the 19. century when Handball found its current form. A Danish teacher and soldier laid down the first written rules of the game before in 1917 a sports teacher from Berlin called the game Handball. Originally developed for girls as a means to engage in sports as football was deemed too hard and physical for them, handball soon developed into a pastime as popular as football. It was also played on a football pitch with 11 players.
After 1945 the game developed and its increasing popularity in Scandinavia saw the game moving indoors where it became what it is today: the second most popular game in Germany.
— Malte RohwerKahlmann (@mrohwerkahlmann) January 31, 2016
Ever since the introduction of the World Cup or European Championships, Germany as inventors of the game, have aimed to underline this position by winning the title. More often than not, they have failed to do so. As with football, its epicentre is Europe and France is the absolute top team at once holding the Olympic, World and European title in 2009/2010. Germany have the tag of underachievers despite the German Handball Bundesliga being one of the strongest in Europe.
The game has nonetheless become ever more popular. Expect the country to go crazy after the national team have won the European title against Spain. While the knockout games against Russia, Denmark and Norway in particular were close and the latter two were only decided in extra time, the final against Spain was a game that left no doubt as to who would win it: after 4 minutes Germany had a 4-goal-lead that they never surrendered and steadily extended throughout the game. The final result was a convincing 24-17 victory over one of the best teams in Europe.