The sport of handball, whilst relatively unknown in Australia is a much loved sport in Europe with its origins in Ancient Greece. Known as urania then, it was played in a highly similar fashion to the modern game to be played at Beijing.
It takes some of the elements of a lot of sports with which Australians are familiar. Dribbling from basketball, the inability to move too far with the ball and the resultant likelihood of knee blowouts from Netty and adds to those something from the rugby field; the ability for defenders to make hard front-on contact with the attacker!
Your tournament favourites - France. Though the European Handball Federation has had a shadow cast over it of Derek Zoolander proportions by two Spanish teams BM Ciudad Real and Barcelona of late. Though Germany are also mighty based on the form of THV Kiel and HSV Hamburg. Lovely how the Germans always throw a bunch of initials at the front of their team names. Not as cool as TSV 1860 Munich, my German soccer team which manages to combine letters and numbers in an almost unbreakable code, but good enough.
Anyway, the qualification system again seems to have given Australia the bone. The Chinese managed to qualify automatically for both the mens and womens draw. The Chinese men will be joined by African powerhouses Egypt, South American hotshots Brazil and the rest will be from Europe. Croatia, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Russia, Denmark and Iceland. Here's hoping Iceland come up with the goods. I think it would suck to be from a country where you are known internationally for this:
Anyway, if Channel 7 is so inclined, enjoy some handball. Given the lack of Australian involvement they will more likely fill any time that isn't devoted to swimming with Andrew Hoy.
As for your cool pub trivia to make you sound like a pretentious twat in front of those you like - call it fangballspiel - as your German friends would have in the middle ages.
If you have a midweek gambling addiction that can't be sated by Dubbo racing, Germany at $5.50 and the choking Spaniards at $6.50 seem like a treat.
Enjoy the handball. Go Iceland.