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In Team handball, can a defender wrap up an opponent from behind

If the opponent is standing still with the ball, can a defender wrap their arms around them from behind?

No, that is not allowed in any situation.
In the rules it says :

8:1 (from IHF Rules of the game)
Fouls and Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Permitted actions
It is permitted:
a) to use an open hand to play the ball out of the hand of another player;
b) to use bent arms to make body contact with an opponent, and to monitor and follow him in this way;
c) to use one’s trunk to block the opponent, in a struggle for positions;

so : not permitted!!

The situstion you describe often occurs when defending the pivot when standing behind him. Try to prevent a pass to him by putting your hand between his two catching hands.
When the pivot has caught the ball anyway, try to step backwards, controlling the pivot's body from behind with bent arms forward.

No this is not allowed. Handball Rules are clear about this:
Fouls and Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Permitted actions
8:1
It is permitted:
a) to use an open hand to play the ball out of the hand of another
player;
b) to use bent arms to make body contact with an opponent, and to
monitor and follow him in this way;
c) to use one’s trunk to block the opponent, in a struggle for positions

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  • search our library of 1200+ handball drills
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  • or access our tried and tested plans