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03.12.2011, 22:31
Czechs aiming for Main Round
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The Czech Republic will start EHF EURO 2012 as one of the underdogs.

»EHF Euro Events Channel »2012 Men's News
»
 

Czechs aiming for Main Round

The Czech Republic will enter January’s EHF EURO 2012 as one of the tournament’s underdogs, despite having 2010 IHF World Handball Player of the Year in Filip Jicha in their ranks.



Having rifled in 11 goals for THW Kiel in a 35:24 win at Partizan Belgrade in their VELUX EHF Champions League Group D match, Jicha spoke in an exclusive interview to the EHF about Czech ambitions in the upcoming European Championship. The towering 29-year old left backcourt shooter also assessed THW Kiel’s good start to the 2011-12 season.



"We are delighted to be in the European Championship and we are looking forward to the build-up period and the preparations for the tournament," Jicha said.



"I would personally be very happy if we reached the Main Round but it’s going to require a supreme effort because we could easily lose all three Preliminary Round Games and make an early exit," he added.



The Czechs are in Preliminary Round Group B alongside Germany, Sweden and Macedonia in Serbia’s southern city of Nis, where the local Cair Arena has been sold out for the event, with Macedonian fans scrambling for tickets to make the short trip across the border to cheer their team.

Jicha, who has scored 613 goals in 113 international appearances for his country, is convinced it would be a difficult task to advance into the Main Round, which comprises two groups of six.



Should the Czechs qualify, they are set to play in Belgrade against the top three teams from Group A comprising hosts Serbia, Denmark, Poland and Slovakia.



"We will do our best to come to Belgrade and play in the Main Round but we have three very difficult games in the first stage of the competition," said Jicha, who also shone in the Four Nations Cup in Serbia, which was a dress rehearsal for EHF EURO 2012.



"The Four Nations Cup was an excellent preparation, and having beaten Serbia and Croatia - two very good teams who are likely to be medal contenders in the European Championship - we are very satisfied with our performances.



"We lost to Hungary because we are not strong enough to play three games in a row at top level in a short period of time. It was good to play in three different venues and we had a very enjoyable week in Serbia," said Jicha, who left no room for doubt about which team he saw as the hot favourites to win EHF EURO 2012.



"The French will be as strong as ever and for me they are the number one contenders, it will be very difficult to dethrone them," said Jicha, adding that his club THW Kiel still had plenty of work to do if they are to win major honours this season.



"We have made a great start in the Bundesliga but we lost three points in our VELUX EHF Champions League group and although we are aiming for both trophies, it’s too early to say that we can win any silverware. We have to keep up our efforts and the good work." 

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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