Handball player leaps towards the goal prior to throwing the ball, while the goalkeeper extends himself trying to stop it. This was the Bosnian handball team playing in Visoko against Greece in the qualification for European championship.
a 7m penalty shot
Handball (also known as team handball, field handball, European handball, or Olympic handball) is a team sport where two teams of seven players each (six players and a goalkeeper) pass and bounce a ball trying to throw it in the goal of the opposing team.
The game is similar to football (soccer), though, as the name implies, the basic method of handling the ball involves the player's hands rather than their feet. It has been played internationally since the first half of the 20th century.
Handball is played on a court forty meters long by twenty meters (40mx20m) wide, with a dividing line in the middle and a goal in the center of either end. The goals are surrounded by a near-semicircular line that is generally six meters (6m) away from the goal. There is also a dashed near-semicircular line that is nine meters (9m) away from the goal.
After having been scored a goal against players of the team must move to the line in the very middle of the pitch. A player must be standing with the ball under control, whereafter the referee will blow his whistle to make the play go on. Note: All players of the team which are restarting the play, must be behind the line on their own half, or else the restarting throw will have to be retaken.
Only the defending goalkeeper is allowed to step inside the six meter (6m) perimeter, though any player may attempt to catch and touch the ball in the air within it. If a player should find himself in contact inside the goal perimeter he must immediately take the most direct path out of it. Should a defender make contact with an attacker while in the goal perimeter, their team is penalized with a direct attempt at the goal, with only one attacker on the seven-meter line and the defending goalkeeper involved. A penalty throw, which must be taken from the seven meter line after the whistle blows, can also be given, if the defender is blocking the attacker's way to goal standing inside the goal perimeter.
The ball is smaller than a football in order for the players to be able to hold and handle it with a single hand (though contact with both hands is perfectly allowed). Some American versions use a volleyball. It is transported by bouncing it between hands and floor — much as in basketball. A player may only hold the ball for three seconds and may only take three steps with the ball in hand. After taking three steps the player will have to make a dribble with one hand in order to continue moving forward, but if the ball is held in both hands after making a dribble and the player makes another dribble, a free throw will be given to the other team for "a double dribble". There are many unofficial rule variations; a common American version allows only a single step with the ball, after which the player must pass the ball to another teammate or shoot.
A standard match duration consists of two periods of 30 minutes each during which each team may call one time-out. Normal league games are usually allowed to end in a draw, but in knockout tournaments, such as the final stages of the Olympics, two extension periods of 10 minutes are played, and if they also end in a draw another two times five minutes has to be played. If each of these ends in a tie after the extra time the winner is determined by an individual shootout from the 7-meter line, where each team is given five shots. The rules of the shootout is similar to the one of soccer, where, if a winner is not found within the first ten shots, the players return to the shooting, until one team has missed and the other scored. In two Olympic Finals of womens handball penalty shootout had to be used - both of them with Denmark participating (against Hungary in 1996 and South Korea in 2004); and both of them with Denmark as the winner.
The game is quite fast and includes body and contact as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the goal. Only frontal contact by the defenders is allowed; when a defender stops an attacker with his or her arms instead of his or her torso, the play is stopped and restarted from the spot of the infraction or on the nine meter line, with the attacking team in possession.
Women's Handball - a jump shot
Penalties are given to players, in progressive format, if the contact between the players is particularly rough (even if it is indeed frontal). The referees may award a nine-meter free throw to the attacking team, or if the infraction was during a clear scoring opportunity, a seven-meter penalty shot is given. In more extreme cases they give the defender a yellow card (warning), a 2-minute penalty, or a red card (permanent expulsion). For rough fouls they can also order two-minute expulsions and a red card expulsion without having to warn the player first. Alternatively, if a player insults the referee - either by touching him with the intension to push or with verbal abuse, or if a player kicks or hits an opponent deliberately, the referee can expel the player forming a cross over his head with his arms, which will tell the player that he/she will have to leave the gym hall completely. Both a red card or an expulsion will - if the referee does not regret his decision within twenty-four hours - result in a quarantine for the player shown out. A team can only get three warnings (yellow cards); after that they will only be able to be penalised with 2-minute suspensions. One player can only get three 2-minute suspensions; after that he/she will be shown the red card, and cannot participate in that game anymore. A red card from three 2-minute suspensions does not result in a quarantine, such as a direct red card does. A Coach/Official can also be penalised progressively. After a yellow card and a 2-minute suspension, the red card is shown straight out, and unlike players, coaches cannot be shown a complete expulsion, but of course also be given a match quarantine. When shown a 2-minute suspension a coach will have to pull out one of his players for two minutes - note: the players is not the one punished and can be substituted in again, because the main penalty is the team playing with a man less than the other.
After having lost the ball during an attack, the ball has to be laid down quickly or else the player not following this rule will face a 2-minute suspension. Also gesticulatingly or verbally rejecting to follow the referee's order, as well as arguing with his/her decisions, will normally result in a 2-minute suspension. Alternatively, if it is done in a very provocative way, a player can be given a 2-minute suspension if he/she does not walk straight out on the bench after been given a suspension, or if the referee considers the tempo deliberately slow.
Ball movement and possession is similar to basketball. If the attacker commits an infraction, such as charging, the possession of the ball can be awarded to the defending team. Players may also cause the possession to be lost if they make more than three steps without dribbling or after stopping their dribble. However unlike basketball, the player may take three steps instead of two (pivoting on one foot is considered a step) and the ball must be "patted" down instead of the more controlled basketball method.
Typical scene in a handball game
The usual formations of the defense are the so-called 6-0, when all the defense players are within the 6 meter and 9 meter lines; the 5-1, when one of the players cruises outside the 9 meter perimeter, usually targeting the center forwards; and the least common 4-2 when there are two such defenders. The usual attacking formation includes two wingmen, a center-left and a center-right which usually excel at high jumps and shooting over the defenders, and two centers, one of which tends to intermingle with the defense (also known as the pivot or line player, somewhat similar to the hole set (2-meter) in water polo), disrupting the defense formation, and the other being the playmaker (similar to basketball). The formations are very variated from country to country. The most common formation for the central european teames as well as the scandinavian teams is 6-0, but it can alternatively be extended to a 5-1, if you want a man (usually the far wing is placed as a disturbance for the other team in the middle in front of the 9-meter perimeter) to disturb the play of the other team. Even more different the Ukrainian team "HC Motor Zaporyshe" tend to play. As their basis of play they play a 3-3 formations with man marking all over their defensive area, which can make it really difficult for the attacking team to make any open chances. Primarily this formation is used by teams outside Eastern Europe only when behind with a few goals with a few minutes left, in the attempt to steal the ball faster.
Goals are much more common in handball than in most other sports; usually, both teams score at least 20 goals, and it is not uncommon to have a match end (say) 33-31. This was not true in the earliest days, when the scores were more akin to that of ice hockey, but as offensive play (in particular in terms of counterattacks after a failed attack from the other team) has improved, more and more goals have been scored each match.
Another set of team handball rules was published on October 29, 1917 by Max Heiser, Karl Schelenz and Erich Konigh from Germany. After 1919 these rules were further improved by Karl Schelenz. The first international games were played under these rules, between Germany and Belgium for men in 1925 and Germany and Austria for women in 1930.
In 1926, the Congress of the International Amateur Athletics Federation nominated a committee to draw up international rules for field handball. The International Amateur Handball Federation was formed in 1928. The International Handball Federation was formed later in 1946
The International Handball Federation has organized Men's World Championships in 1938, and then every two, three or sometimes four years since the World War II. The Women's World Championships have been played since 1957. The IHF also organizes Women's and Men's Junior World Championships.
As of December 2006, the IHF reports to have 159 member federations representing approximately 1,130,000 teams and a total of 31 million players, trainers, officials and referees.
The state now known as Germany was unified as a modern nation-state only in 1871, when the German Empire was forged, with the Kingdom of Prussia as its largest constituent. This began the German Reich, usually translated as empire, but also meaning kingdom, domain or realm.
Early history of the Germanic tribes (100 BC – AD 300)
The medieval empire stemmed from a division of the Carolingian Empire in 843, which was founded by Charlemagne on December 25, 800, and existed in varying forms until 1806, its territory stretching from the Eider River in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south. Often referred to as the Holy Roman Empire (or the Old Empire), it was officially called the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation ("Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicæ") starting in 1448, to adjust the title to its then reduced territory.
The edict of the Golden Bull in 1356 provided the basic constitution of the empire that lasted until its dissolution. It codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors who ruled some of the most powerful principalities and archbishoprics. Beginning in the 15th century, the emperors were elected nearly exclusively from the Habsburg dynasty of Austria.
In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Third Reich regime enacted governmental policies directly subjugating many parts of society: Jews, Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, freemasons, political dissidents, priests, preachers, religious opponents, and the disabled, amongst others. During the Nazi era, about 11 million people were murdered in the Holocaust, including between 4 and 6 million Jews. World War II and the Nazi genocide were responsible for about 35 million dead in Europe, with nearly 30 million of these in Poland and the Soviet Union alone.
German occupation zones in 1946 after territorial annexations in the East. The Saarland (in stripes) became a protectorate of France between 1947 and 1956
West Germany, established as a liberal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy", was allied with the United States, the UK and France. The country eventually came to enjoy prolonged economic growth beginning in the early 1950s (Wirtschaftswunder). The recovery occurred largely because of the previously forbidden currency reform of June 1948 and U.S. assistance through the Marshall Plan aid. Led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1958. Across the border, East Germany was at first occupied by, and later (May 1955) allied with, the USSR. An authoritarian country with a Soviet-style command economy, East Germany soon became the richest, most advanced country in the Warsaw Pact, but many of its citizens looked to the West for political freedoms and economic prosperity. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans from escaping to West Germany, became a symbol of the Cold War. However, tensions between East and West Germany were somewhat reduced in the early 1970s by Chancellor Willy BrandtsOstpolitik, which included the de facto acceptance of Germany's territorial losses in World War II.
During the summer of 1989, in the face of a growing migration of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary and mass demonstrations, East German authorities unexpectedly eased the border restrictions in November 1989, allowing East German citizens to travel to the West. This led to the acceleration of the process of reforms in East Germany that concluded with German reunification on October 3, 1990. Under the terms of the treaty between West and East Germany, Berlin again became the capital of the reunited Germany.
Since reunification, Germany has taken a leading role in the European Union and NATO. Germany sent a peacekeeping force to secure stability in the Balkans and sent a force of Bundeswehr troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO effort to provide security in that country after the ousting of the Taliban.
More information on politics and government of Germany can be found at Politics of Germany, the main article in the Politics and government of Germany series.
The Judiciary of Germany is independent of the executive and the legislative branches. Germany has a civil or statute law system that is based on Roman law with some references to Germanic law. Legislative power is divided between the Federation and the individual federated states. Criminal law and private law are codified on the national level in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively. Many of the fundamental matters in administrative law remain in the jurisdiction of the individual federated states, though most states follow the 1976 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Proceedings Law) in important points of administrative law. Germany's supreme court system is specialized. For civil and criminal cases, the highest court of appeal is the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice), located in Karlsruhe. The courtroom style is inquisitorial. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court), also located in Karlsruhe, is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review. It acts as the highest legal authority and ensures that legislative and judicial practice conforms to the Constitution. It acts independently of the other state bodies, but cannot act on its own behalf.
Since its establishment on May 23, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany kept a notably low profile in international relations, because of both its recent history and its occupation by foreign powers. During the Cold War, Germany's partition by the Iron Curtain made it a symbol of East-West tensions and a political battleground in Europe. However, Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik was a key factor in the détente of the 1970s. In 1999 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government defined a new basis for German foreign policy by taking a full part in the decisions surrounding the NATO war against Yugoslavia and by sending German troops into combat for the first time since World War II.
The Federal Republic of Germany and the United States have been close allies since the end of the World War II. The Marshall Plan, the continued U.S. support during the rebuilding process after World War II, and the significant influence of American culture in Germany have crafted a strong bond between the two countries, although Schröder's very vocal opposition to the Iraq war signalled the end of Atlanticism and a relative cooling of German-American relations. The two countries are also deeply interdependent economically; 8.8% of German exports are U.S.-bound and 6.6% of German imports originate from the U.S. Other signs of the close ties include the continuing position of German-Americans as the largest ethnic group in the U.S. and the status of Ramstein Air Base, close to the city of Kaiserslautern as the largest U.S. military community outside the U.S.
A German infantryman stands at the ready with his G36 during a practice exercise in 2004. U.S. troops watch in the background. All rifles in photo are equipped with blank firing adapters. (Photo: U.S. Navy)
Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is a defence force with Heer (Army), Marine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Zentraler Sanitätsdienst (Central Medical Services) and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Service Support Command) branches. Military Service is compulsory for men at the age of 18 and conscripts serve nine-month tours of duty. In 2003, military spending constituted 1.5% of the country's GDP. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence, currently Franz Josef Jung. If Germany goes to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, the Chancellor becomes commander in chief of the Bundeswehr.
As of October 2006 the German military had almost 9,000 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of various international peacekeeping forces, including 1,180 troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina; 2,844 Bundeswehr soldiers in Kosovo; 750 soldiers stationed as a part of EUFOR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and 2,800 German troops making up the largest contingent of the NATO-led ISAF force in Afghanistan.
Germany is divided into 16 states (in German called Länder, singular Land; commonly Bundesländer, singular Bundesland). It is further subdivided into 439 districts (Kreise) and cities (kreisfreie Städte) (2004).
Germany has the largest population in Europe, after the European parts of Russia, and is seventh in area. The territory of Germany covers 357,021km² (137,850 mi²), of which land makes up 349,223 km² (134,835 mi²) and water makes up 7,798 km² (3,010 mi²). Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 m (9,718 ft)) in the south to the shores of the North Sea (Nordsee) in the north-west and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the north-east. Between lie the forested uplands of central Germany and the low-lying lands of northern Germany (lowest point: Wilstermarsch at 3.54 metres (11.6 ft) below sea level), traversed by some of Europe's major rivers such as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Because of its central location, Germany shares borders with more European countries than any other country on the continent. Its neighbours are Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west and Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west.
Most of Germany has a cool, temperate climate in which humid westerly winds predominate. The climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, which is the northern extension of the Gulf Stream. This warmer water affects the areas bordering the North Sea including the peninsula of Jutland in north Germany and the area along the Rhine, which flows into the North Sea. Consequently in the north-west and the north, the climate is oceanic; rainfall occurs year round with a maximum during summer. Winters there are mild and summers tend to be cool, though temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) for prolonged periods. In the east, the climate is more continental; winters can be very cold, summers can be very warm, and long dry periods are often recorded. Central and the southern Germany is a transition region which varies from moderately oceanic to continental. The maximum temperature can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) in summer.
Frankfurt am Main — popularly referred to as "Mainhattan" — is Germany's financial centre.
Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the third largest economy in the world, behind the United States and Japan. It is ranked fifth in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. The export of goods is an essential part of the German economy and one of the main factors of its wealth. According to the World Trade Organization, Germany is the world's top exporter with $912 billion exported in 2005 (Germany's exports to other Eurozone countries are included in this total). It is second in imports only to the United States and has a large trade surplus (160.6 billion euros in 2005). In the trade of services (tourism, financial services, engineering, etc) it ranks second behind the United States. Most of the country's exports are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, and chemical goods. In terms of total capacity to generate electricity from wind power, Germany is first in the world and it is also the main exporter of wind turbines.
Although problems created by the German Reunification of 1990 have begun to diminish, the standard of living remains higher in the western half of the country. Germans continue to be concerned about a relatively high level of unemployment, especially in the former East German states where unemployment tops 18%. In spite of its extremely good performance in international trade, domestic demand has stalled for many years because of stagnating wages and consumer insecurity. Germany's government runs a restrictive fiscal policy and has cut numerous regular jobs in the public sector. But while regular employment in the public sector shrank, "irregular" government employment such as "one euro" jobs (temporary low-wage positions), government supported self-employment, and job training increased.
Population of Germany over time. Note that for years before 1990, the values of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic are combined. The federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to approximately 75 million by 2050
Germany is the most populated European country with over than 20 millions inhabitants more than France and the United Kingdom, however the country is facing major demographic change. Its fertility rate of 1.39 children per mother is one of the lowest in the world, and the federal statistics office estimates the population will shrink to approximately 75 million by 2050.Chemnitz is thought to be the city with the lowest birth rate in the world. Germany has a number of larger cities, the most populous being Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. By far the largest conurbation is the Rhine-Ruhr region, including the Düsseldorf-Cologne district and the cities of Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg and Bochum.
As of December 2004, about 7 million foreign citizens were registered in Germany and 19% of the country's residents were of foreign or partially foreign descent. Most were from Turkey (2.3 million) or from European states such as Italy, Serbia, Greece, Poland, and Croatia. In its State of World Population 2006 report, the United Nations Population Fund lists Germany as hosting the third-highest percentage of international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants. Since 2000, due to gradual modifications to Germany's traditionally rather unrestricted laws on asylum and immigration, the number of immigrants seeking asylum or claiming German ethnicity (mostly from the former Soviet Union) has been declining steadily. Immigrants to Germany often face integration issues among other difficulties. There has also been a recent surge in right-wing nationalist crimes. According to former Interior Minister Otto Schily, the number of these crimes rose in recent years, though this trend does not necessarily indicate a rise in membership in right-wing groups.
Responsibility for educational oversight in Germany lies primarily with the states while the federal government only has a minor role. Optional kindergarten education is provided for all children between three and six years old, after which school attendance is compulsory for twelve years. Primary education usually lasts for four years and public schools are not stratified at this stage. In contrast, secondary education includes four types of schools based on a pupil's ability as determined by teacher recommendations: the Gymnasium includes the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediary students; the Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education, and the Gesamtschule or comprehensive school combines the three approaches. In order to enter a university, high school students are required to take the Abitur examination, however students possessing a diploma from a vocational school may also apply to enter. A special system of apprenticeship called Duale Ausbildung allows pupils in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run school. Although Germany has had a history of a strong educational system, recent PISA student assessments demonstrated a weakness in certain subjects. In the test of 31 countries in the year 2000, Germany ranked 21st in reading and 20th in both mathematics and the natural sciences, prompting calls for reform.
In the annual league of top-ranking universities compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2004, Germany came 4th overall, with 7 universities in the top 100. The highest ranking German university, at number 45, was the Technical University of Munich. Most German universities are state-owned and until recently did not charge for tuition; a 2006 education reform measure calls for fees of around €500 per semester from each student.
Opened in 2005: the Allianz Arena, one of the world's most modern football stadiums.
Sport forms an integral part of German life, as demonstrated by the fact that 27 million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually.Football is by far the most popular sport, and the German Football Federation (Deutscher Fussballbund) with more than 6.3 million members is the largest athletic organisation in the country. It also attracts the greatest audience, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending Bundesliga matches and millions more watching on television. The other two most popular sports in Germany are marksmanship and tennis represented by the German Marksmen’s Federation and the German Tennis Federation respectively, both including more than a million members. Other popular sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, and ice hockey. Germany has historically been one of the strongest contenders in the Olympic Games. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, Germany finished sixth overall, whereas in the 2006 Winter Olympics Germany finished first.