General trends in European men's handball: a longitudinal study

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The present study investigated in a longitudinal manner from seven consecutive competition years (2002-2003 through 2008-2009) the final results of men's handball National Major League matches from seven European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and Sweden). The results showed that there were significant differences between the countries with regards to the total number of goals scored per match. Nonetheless all the countries followed a consistent pattern of significant increase in the total number of goals scored per match, which over the years amounted to an increase of roughly five goals per match, from 52.9 to 57.9 goals, meaning an increase of 10%. The seven countries were heterogeneous also with regards to the percentage of close games i.e. of matches with a goal difference of two or less, as well as with regards to the outcome of the matches (home win, away win, and draw). The present findings provide experts in handball with valuable information regarding general trends in modern handball with regards to pace of the game, home advantage importance and the quantification of competitiveness based on the results of close games as well as specific differences between countries in Europe.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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