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Coaches / Analysis / Details

Quantitative analysis (2)


Percentage of goals from 6m shots, wing shots, and 9m shots in positional attack

{5d35b676-178b-44c3-a749-cd830f8dfcf8,Figure 5} shows the percentage of goals scored in positional attack from long range (9m shots), from wing positions (wing shots) and from close range (6m shots) – excluding breakthroughs in positional attack, i.e. unmarked throwing actions after a breakthrough (1-on-1 situation or wave) from long range to close range (11.1% at GER/DEN 2019).

Since the 2009 World Championship, the number of long-range goals has almost continuously been decreasing. At the 2017 World Championship, for the first time most of the goals were scored from close range (positions along the line)!

This clear trend has slightly reversed at the 2019 World Championship, which saw an increase in the number of long-range goals (24.0%). However, the number of close-range goals is still relatively high (23.8%), whereas the number of goals from the wing positions has hardly changed (14.3%).


These results reflect crucial developments in our game:

  • The cooperative play with line players (two against two or three against three) has developed substantially over the last years. We observed variations of two-against-two play in the depth between back-court or wing and line players both during three-against-three positional attacks and after switching to different forms of attacking play with two line players. 
  • It is especially important to note that we could see yet another increase in the variations of passes from the back-court to the line players. This technical/tactical development continues to be highly stable.

The individual values also show that the cooperative play through the line players remains a decisive factor for success in today’s top-level handball:

  • France (27.0%) and Germany (24.2%) scored the highest number of goals from close range.
  • Sweden (70.4%) and Norway (70.3%) achieved the best close-range shot effectiveness.


Effectiveness of goals differentiated by 6m shots, wing shots, and 9m shots in positional attack

The effectiveness of the throwing actions in positional attack from long range (9m shots), from wing positions (wing shots) and from close range (6m shots) produces a differentiated picture (see {d652d5bc-1670-4383-93b1-ce4c3706b67a,figure 6}):

  • Shots from wing positions have had the highest effectiveness since the 2015 World Championship. This was also the case at the 2019 World Championship (67.6%).
  • After a clear decrease in 2017, the effectiveness of close-range shots (6m shots) has improved again (65.8%).
  • By contrast, the effectiveness of long-range shots (9m shots) has increased by 4.6 percent (47.9%). At the same time, after reaching a low point at the 2017 World Championship, the number of shots from long range has also increased by more than 17 percent (see {39fe5ac3-e526-48a4-bbe6-90e8886f5f1c,figure 7}).

Here, we can see the dominating attacking play of Denmark’s back-court players: 

Denmark achieved the highest percentage of goals from long range (25.9%). At the same time, they reached the by far best shot effectiveness (54.3%). Runners-up Norway achieved the by far best shot effectiveness from both wing positions (78.3%). Sweden (70.4%) and Norway (70.3%) achieve a close-range shot effectiveness of more than 70 percent.


At the 2019 World Championship, top results were achieved in terms of position-specific shot effectiveness. This clearly shows an increase in quality of the attacking play in modern men’s handball. The clear improvement of the percentages and effectiveness of shots from long range should not be underestimated. If we also consider breakthrough actions, which were also mostly performed by back-court players (with an average effectiveness of over 80 percent), the improved performance of the back-court players cannot be rated high enough.


Trends in the number of assists per match and team

{407212f7-b693-462e-9755-eafb163025e1,Figure 8} shows that the number of successful assists has stabilised at a high level. The prerequisite is the increasingly more complete player profiles of wing, line and back-court players. Today, back-court players in all three positions are especially capable of cooperative play.

In this context, the further increase in creative passing variations from back-court to line players must also be considered. Today’s top players are able to play effective passes to, for examples, line players from almost any situation (e.g. at any stage of a one-on-one and/or under high pressure by one or several opponents).


Trends in the number of technical faults in attack ({5f76a478-83ae-4f5a-8d56-a2e03be6859a,figure 9})

Since the 2015 World Championship, the eight best teams succeeded in systematically reducing the number of technical faults in attack (losing the ball due to technical faults, etc.). At France 2017, the average number of technical faults by the eight best teams was below 10 per match for the first time ever.

This extremely positive development continues; there were only 8.7 technical faults per match and team. This is yet another important value, which reflects the constant quality improvement of the top teams’ attacking play. Since the World Championship in Sweden, the number of technical faults has been reduced by more than 30 percent in the last eight years.

The result achieved by world champions Denmark is almost unbelievable: only 5.5 technical faults per match.


Trends in the number of steals in defence

Actively retrieving the ball in defence (for example, intercepting a pass) is a key feature of active defence.

{f6630e63-6344-4ed3-9a89-4633e72c177a,Figure 10} shows that the results of the 2013 World Championship in Spain still stand out. Former world champions Spain made 20.8 steals per match through creative, active defensive play. This seems almost impossible if we consider the average results achieved by the eight best teams at GER/DEN 2019 (4.1 steal per match).

Even though it is not necessarily obvious from these statistics, the individual and cooperative defence behaviour has considerably changed at the 2019 World Championship. Quite often defenders managed to block or even intercept passes from long range to the line players, which clearly is in response to the consistent rule interpretation of the referees, especially in duels around the goal area.