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11.10.2012, 10:05
Penezić in doubt for EHF EURO 2012
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Croatia's head coach Vladimir Canjuga thinks about how to shape his team for the future
 

Penezić in doubt for EHF EURO 2012

Two months after the 2012 Olympic Games the quarter-final against Spain (25:22) is still on the mind of Croatia's women's team head coach Vladimir Canjuga. Especially Andrea Penezić's (pictured right) injury is troubling him.

His arguably biggest star player had to leave the court at the beginning of the second half and the injury is that severe that Canjuga had to start the preparations for the EHF EURO in Serbia without and still does not know whether she will return in time.

"You can say to me that I am brash or too confident, but I am sure that we would have won a medal (in London) with a healthy Andrea. It is really pity, why Croatia didn’t finish among the best, but I will quote our legendary football coach, Miroslav Ćiro Blažević. „If you don’t have luck, then you have nothing,“ said Canjuga.

Croatia played two test matches against Serbia, they drew 25:25 and then lost 29:30, last week and two months out of the Women's European Championship Canjuga used the opportunity to make few changes to his team and test new players. In total Croatia were without nine players from the Olympic team.

"I am satisfied with the group of young players. It’s a pity because we didn’t have some injured players here, but on the other side that helped me to see some girls, who weren’t with us in London. I had 14 players at the Olympic Games, so some players had to stay out of the team.

"I can’t say that (Katarina) Ježić, (Marta) Žderić, (Aneta) Peraica, (Ivana) Petković or (Žana) Ćović are newcomers in the NT. They were always in the roster that consisted of 18 or 19 players."

But the Croatian head coach is still in doubt about the future shape of his team.

"I am still thinking what is better to combine experienced and young players or to be more radical? An important point in this Olympic cycle is the EHF EURO 2014 on home soil. (But what has to be the main point, 2014 or Rio 2016 (the Olympic Games)?

"We can make team consisting of experienced players who will fight for the medal in 2014, but then we will have problem with young players, who won’t adapt well until 2016. I am afraid that we already had that kind of chances in the past and we missed them."

In the long run, I think that we have a good chance to play in the semi-finals at the next two competitions in Serbia (EHF EURO 2012 and WCh 2013) or at home (EHF EURO 2014). That would be a crown for this generation."

Asked about the game plan for his team Canjuga thinks that a strong defence is the key to victory, far more than the attack.

"Croatia is among fifth to tenth place in the world. We need two or three more top quality players and our defence will step up yet another level because we don’t have a great shooters.

"The saying that 'defence brings victories, while attack loses matches' was proven true in our first match against Serbia. My team made more than 10 technical mistakes, but our 5-1 defence playing on a high level prevented us from losing the match. That defence 5-1 is something new in our work."

But in the eyes of Canjuga success or failure at the EHF EURO 2012 will very much depend on the Andrea Penezić's return.

"We have a really tough group at the EHF EURO 2012. I feel free to say that our group is the toughest with Hungary, Germany and Spain. As a team that competed in London, it is normal that we are seen as the favourite, but in my opinion, we aren’t.

"All teams from our group could take four points for the Main Round. If injured Andrea Penezić stays out of the team for Serbia and Miranda Tatari decides to leave the national team, we will be in serious trouble. I talk with Miranda and my wish is to see her with us until 2014 and for EHF EURO on home soil at the end of the year.

"But if we are left without her and Andrea, there is only way – rejuvenation," concluded Canjuga.


For more EHF EURO 2012 news go to www.ehf-euro.com

Also join us on www.facebook.com/EHFEUROWomen


TEXT: Žika Bogdanović / ts
 
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