EHF Finals adding more sports history to Altice Arena
It is show time in Altice Arena in Lisbon! The EHF Finals Men 2022 throw off with the two semi-finals on Saturday, followed by the medal matches on Sunday. For the first time, a venue in Portugal is hosting the final tournament of an EHF club competition.
The arena, with a capacity of 20,000 for concerts and 12,500 for handball, was built in 1998, mainly for the EXPO in Lisbon.
Since then, major world stars have been on stage in Altice Arena, including Madonna, Shakira, Kylie Minogue, Beyonce, and Bryan Adams. Altice Arena staged the MTV Music Awards in 2005, the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018.
Not just culture, also sports have found their place at the venue through the years: the World Indoor Championships 2001 in athletics, the ATP Finals 2000 in tennis, the World Championships 2002 in fencing, and U-19 World Championship 1999 in basketball.
When SC Magdeburg and RK Nexe open the EHF Finals Men 2022 with the first semi-final at 16:00 CEST (live on EHFTV), it will be the first handball match in the arena since the final of the 2003 IHF Men’s World Championship final – which, coincidentally also featured the teams from Germany and Croatia.
Back then, Croatia won the match against Germany 34:31 for their first and sole world title, and the arena was still called the Pavilhão Atlântico.
In 2003, the whole final weekend was staged in the arena as 12,000 fans saw Croatia win gold, Germany silver, and France bronze. Hosts Portugal missed the final weekend as they ended their home tournament in 12th position.
So, when SL Benfica and Orlen Wisla Plock take the court for the second semi-final at 18:30 CEST, it will be the first time a handball team from Portugal will play in the Altice Arena.