While there is no flow-over from the 18-year-olds of 2018 until today, it’s anyone’s guess who will come with a winning team to the Serbian capital.

Reigning champion Greece will head up Group B with none of its opponents having gained a medal at this level. Greece will be joined by Australia, Brazil, debuting Netherlands and Turkey, who claimed the sixth position in its only visit in 2014. Australia and Brazil were seventh and ninth respectively in 2012 — their best outings.

In Group A, Croatia and Hungary would be the favourites with the latter having made the dais on four occasions, winning in 2014, taking the silver in 2018 after the bronze in 2016. Croatia won in 2016 and finished sixth the last time out. They will be joined by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and newcomer Kuwait. Kazakhstan’s best was 14th in 2014 and Uzbekistan 13th in 2012.

Group C and D contain just four teams each with the former being a potential powderkeg with Italy, Serbia and the United States of America joined by New Zealand. Italy won the inaugural crown in Perth in what was a nasty clash with Hungary when red cards were flowing as often as goals. Italy’s best since was fourth in 2016 and finished sixth four years ago. Serbia claimed bronze in Szombathely. USA’s best was eighth in 2012 and New Zealand took out 10th position in that first year, coming home 14th in 2018.

Group D’s fancies would have to be Spain and Montenegro. Spain has the two silvers from 2014 and 2018 while Montenegro was second in 2016 and seventh in 2018. Canada’s best was 10th in 2014 and South Africa was 15th in 2018.

Because of the uneven groups, days one, three and five will contain eight matches while days two and four will have just four encounters. Day six will have the crossovers, day seven the play-off for 17th, the 9-16 semifinals and 1-8 quarter-finals, followed on day eight by classification matches 9-16 and 1-8 semifinals, with day nine playoffs for the top eight positions.


Group A: Kazakhstan, Croatia, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Kuwait
Group B: Brazil, Australia, Greece, Netherlands, Turkey.
Group C: New Zealand, Italy, United States of America, Serbia.
Group D: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Montenegro.

Day 1 Matches:

09:00, Kazakhstan v Croatia
10:30, Brazil v Australia
12:00 Netherlands v Turkey
13:30 New Zealand v Italy
15:30 Canada v Spain
17:00 South Africa v Montenegro
18:30 Uzbekistan v Kuwait
19:45 Opening Ceremony
20:30 United States of America v Serbia