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02.12.2011, 09:00
Iceland without talisman Stefánsson in Serbia?
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Injuries hinder Scandinavian work in preparation for the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.
 

Iceland without talisman Stefánsson in Serbia?

Coach Guðmundur Guðmundsson is careful about setting goals as Iceland faces playing their first major championship for 18 years without superstar Ólafur Stefánsson. 

Like many other teams, Iceland, bronze medallists from Austria, are unsure of what target they can set themselves for EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia because of injuries to key players. By last count, three of the team‘s most important players are struggling, goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson has a shoulder injury, left back Arnór Atlason is nursing a herniated disc in his back and icon Ólafur Stefánsson hasn‘t played since last June following knee surgery.

No wonder that coach Guðmundsson is worried. „It‘s always a concern when key players are injured, let alone three of the most important players. We have, however, got good news regarding Gústavsson, he won‘t need an operation on his shoulder and we‘re optimistic that he‘ll be back to his best form in time for Serbia."

"Atlason´s case is delicate. If we‘re lucky he will last the whole tournament, but with a back injury like that, you never know. As for Stefánsson, the odds on him going to Serbia decrease for every week that goes by without him making a comeback," the coach added.

If Stefánsson doesn‘t make it, it will be Iceland‘s first major championship since the World Championship in Sweden in 1993 without him. He made his championship debut on home soil at the WCh 1995 and has since been Iceland‘s talisman, the driving force, main motivatior and star player in a team that has in the last years won an Olympic silver in Beijing and bronze at the last EHF EURO in Austria.

„It‘s a watershed if it comes to that", Guðmundsson says. „But that‘s the way of life. Sooner or later we have to adapt to life without Stefánsson. That‘s why I have included young Rúnar Kárason in the squad. I‘m not saying he‘s ready to replace Stefánsson, but he‘s been really good in practice and together with Alexander Petersson and Ásgeir Örn Hallgrímsson I‘m sure he can give us good alternatives in the position of right back."

Looking forward to Serbia Guðmundsson says that considering the uncertainty regarding key players, he‘s a bit conservative regarding his objectives in Serbia.

„The first goal is, obviously, qualifying for the main round, which will by no means be easy. We have a very hard group with Croatia and Slovenia practically playing at home and Norway are alwas a tricky adversary. And then the main group, if we get there, will be far more difficult than the other one, probably including France, Spain, Russia and Hungary. So taking into account the injuries, it‘s hard to say what our aims should be. But rest assure, when we get to Serbia, we will try to win every game and go as far as possible."

Further information

Download the Official EHF EURO 2012 Playing Schedule (pdf)

Buy your EHF EURO 2012 tickets HERE.

Ticketing is managed by the Serbian Organising Committees. Should you need further assistance for buying your tickets, please contact via email: tickets@rss.org.rs

Find more information on the tournament on the official website www.ehf-euro.com/SRB2012/

Join the growing community of fans of the event on Facebook www.facebook.com/SRB2012


TEXT: Mark Hegedues
 
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