Spain and Hungary will be looking to retain their youth beach handball world titles ©Getty Images

The world's best beach handball players aged 18 and under have gathered on the Greek island of Crete for the International Handball Federation (IHF) Youth Beach Handball World Championships.

Men's and women's competitions will be held over six days of action, from tomorrow until Sunday (June19), in Heraklion.

This will be the second edition of the Youth Beach Handball World Championships after the event was postponed last year due to COVID-19, having originally been scheduled to take place in Portugal.

The inaugural tournament was held in Mauritius in 2017, with Spain and Hungary winning the respective men's and women's competitions via penalty shootouts.

Sixteen teams will play three matches in the preliminary round in both competitions, with the four worst-performing sides being eliminated at the first stage. 

Four more teams will then exit after three further games, before a straight knockout determines the winner. 

Placement matches will also be held in order to give teams a clear final position. 

The majority of the nations will be bringing a team to the event for the first time.

"We are looking forward to seeing great sport again after the five-year wait and I am certain Greece will be eager to show not only their sportive, but also their organisational skills to create an unforgettable event," IHF President Hassan Moustafa said.

"We look forward to a wonderful event in the spirit of fair play and clean sport. 

"We wish all the players, teams and coaches good luck."