Portugal in a double confrontation with Greece
The Portuguese national women’s team is preparing for the next two games with Greece, in the race to qualify for EHF EURO 2012 in the Netherlands.
Portugal have two hard games ahead with the first one taking place on Wednesday (21 March), in Thessaloniki – where the Portuguese arrived late on Monday night (19 March). Portugal, like Greece, have not gained any points in Group 2 yet, suffering defeats against Romania and Serbia in the first and second rounds of the group.
Portuguese national team coach Duarte Freitas is only thinking about victory in both games.
“Even though that, mathematically, there is still a chance for our qualification, we are aware that it is very difficult to happen,” he said.
“We have to focus in our real purpose, which is, at this point, to ensure third place in Group 2. For this, we must get a positive balance in this double confrontation with the Greek team – first in Greece and, then, at home.
“We would like to thank the people of Moimenta da Beira with a good performance in our home game there as we always get fantastic support every time we play there”.
Freitas believes that his Portugal side is able to overcome Greece but says that keeping focus is the key.
“For what we found out about Greece, we have the skills, whether individually or at the collective level to overcome this opponent,” he explained. “We must play with full concentration and always play at the same level that we played in the first half of the games with Romania and Serbia.
“We expect, for certain, some difficulties in both matches, especially before the 6:0 Greek defence, which, in their central area, managed to impose a lot of difficulties to the Romanian attack on their last game.”
The Portuguese player Bebiana Sabino knows that two hard games are coming: “We don't expect an easy opposition. Greece is a team with quality and so they require the best from our abilities. Anyway, at the end of the 60 minutes in these two matches we do expect to be the ones with more reasons to celebrate.”
This weekend (Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 March) is all about handball in Portugal. Besides the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 qualification match between Portugal and Greece in Moimenta da Beira, Lisbon there will also be two decisive Men’s EHF European Cup matches taking place – SL Benfica play the second leg of their Men’s EHF Cup Winners Cup quarter-final with HC Celje Pivovarna and will be hoping to overturn the 29-23 loss in Slovenia in the first leg.
Romanian club side CSU Suceava come to Lisbon to play their second leg match in the EHF Men’s Challenge Cup against Sporting CP, who will be hoping to capitalise on their 33:24 victory in Romania last Saturday (17 March) in the first leg.
Alongside this, Portugal is also hosting another edition of the Women’s Junior Four Nation Tournament in Mondim de Basto. The hosts will compete with France, Germany and Spain in the tournament which starts on Saturday 23 March and finishes on Sunday 25 March.
Find more information on the Women's EHF EURO 2012 Qualification HERE.
View more detailed information on the event on the Official EHF EURO 2012 Website.
TEXT: Claudia Teixeira/Federação de Andebol de Portugal