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30.10.2012, 14:18
Despite injuries, Slovakians believe in surprises
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Coach Dávid will miss three key players against Croatia and Hungary.
 

Despite injuries, Slovakians believe in surprises

The second qualifying phase of the Men´s EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark gets underway on Wednesday. Tough start awaits for, by injuries decimated Slovakia, first paying visit to Croatia, then hosting southern neighbours from Hungary, four days later. The fourth team in Group 4 is Latvia.

Slovakia will be fighting for a spot in their fourth EHF European Championship after failing to pass the preliminary round in all three occasions.

Peter Dávid will look to repeat the success of Zoltán Heister, former coach of the national team. Steered by the new coach, Slovakia failed to qualify for the 2013 World Championship in Spain, after being knocked out in the qualifying phase by Belarus in June and the race for a ticket to the EURO is Dávid´s second chance.

Slovakia have always had problems with injuries before their important matches and this time around, it is no different. In the opening match of the qualifying campaign in Osijek against Croatia, third placed team from the last EURO and Olympic bronze medallists from London, coach Peter Dávid has had to improvise as he is forced to build his team without several key men of Slovak handball.

Big blow for Slovakia is the absence of three key players from the last major tournaments. Daniel Valo, centre back of HSG Wetzlar suffered an ankle ligament injury.

The playmakers Peter Kukučka from Kadetten Schaffhausen and Csaba Szücs from TSV Hannover Burgdorf have been also ruled out of the tough start to the campaign. Gummersbach´s line player Michal Kopčo has problems with his instep but is declared to be fit for Wednesday encounter in Osijek.

Therefore, the role of team leader has been given to František Šulc, one of the stars of Hungarian Szeged. He arrived to Modra, where the national team has set their camp, in a good mood, following his eight goals in an important encounter this weekend in the Hungarian top flight against MKB Veszprém.

On Monday, we had all the selected players in the training process, however, we remain unlucky with the injuries. Another two players came to the camp with health problems. Tomáš Urban has injured his ankle, while Pavol Polakovič is sufffering from hip muscle strain injury,“ Dávid said.

One of the promising names in the squad is, with 49 goals in the Slovak Extraliga, leader of ŠKP Bratislava, Ivan Kucharík. Due to absences in the team, he is expected to get the chance to show his scoring abilities in, what can easily be his most important matches in his career so far.

"From these two matches, we would like to shock the handball world at least in one occasion. Injuries are holding us back a bit, but we have to cope with this situation," added Dávid on the press conference on Monday.

The Slovakians are expecting a hot atmosphere in Osijek, but they promise to prepare the same environment for Hungarians in Prešov. Their Arena is already sold out and fans are eager to help national team shock Europe once again.



For more EHF EURO 2014 news go to www.ehf-euro.com

Also join us on www.facebook.com/EHFEUROMen
 



Slovakian squad for the first two qualifying matches in Osijek against Croatia (31 October, 18:00 hrs local time) and in Prešov against Hungary (4 November, 17:00 hrs local time):

Goalkeepers: Richard Štochl (Chekhovskie Medvedi), Teodor Paul (FTC-PLER Budapest), Miloš Putera (HBV Balingen-Weilstetten)
Line players: Michal Kopčo (VfL Gummersbach), Martin Mazák (FTC-PLER Budapest), Peter Dudáš (HC Sporta Hlohovec)
Wingers: Martin Straňovský (FC Barcelona Intersport), Tomáš Urban (Grundfos Tatabánya KC), Radoslav Antl (Tatran Prešov), Miroslav Volentics (ŠKP Bratislava)
Back court players: František Šulc (Pick Szeged), Pavol Polakovič (Octavio Pilotes Posada), Gabriel Vadkerti (Csurgói KK), Oliver Rábek, Vladimír Guzy (both Tatran Prešov), Ľubomír Ďuriš (HC Sporta Hlohovec), Ivan Kucharík (ŠKP Bratislava), Patrik Hruščák (HC winLand Michalovce)


TEXT: Tomáš Čunčík / br
 
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