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30.03.2013, 22:12
Slovakia determined despite injury woes
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Two wins against Latvia are a must for Peter Dávid's weakened side
 

Slovakia determined despite injury woes

Two matches, two defeats. Not a good start for a team with ambitions to qualify for a final tournament, but  two matches against Latvia offer a lifeline for Slovakia as they continue their bid for the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark.

Slovakia pay a visit to Latvian town of Dobele on 3 April (match starting at 18:05 CET), which will be followed by the return game in Považská Bystrica on 7 April (match starting at 17:00 CET).

If Slovakia want to stand any chance of fighting for one of the two spots guaranteeing  a place amongst Europe’s elite in Denmark, they have to be successful against their Baltic opponent in two upcoming games.

“That is our target. We have zero on our account and if we want to have something to play for in the last two matches, we have to collect all four points from games against Latvia.

“However, we cannot underestimate them. We have to take these matches very seriously, be very concentrated, play well in defence and use our wings to attack.

“Tomáš Urban and Radoslav Antl are both in very good form, we have to use it to our advantage,” national team coach Peter Dávid told ehf-euro.com.

Dávid has had plenty to deal with over the last few weeks. Besides of his club mission to save TV Grosswallstadt in the German Bundesliga, he has to cope with number of injuries in the national team, just like every national team get together recently.  

“We have huge problems with injuries. I will be honest, we find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

“Peter Kukučka (Kadetten Schaffhausen) is out due to back problems and František Šulc has a torn calf muscle (Pick Szeged).

“They are our key players and it is not easy to replace them. We have problems with injuries throughout the whole qualification – especially with our key players.

“There has not been a single national team camp where all the key players I have chosen were present. But handball brings challenges and we have to deal with them.”

“Furthermore, a limited number of line players is another hard nut to crack recently.

“Tomáš Mažár (Tatran Prešov) with Peter Dudáš (HC Sparta Hlohovec) are out due to injuries and we have got the information about Michal Kopčo, who is suffering from back pain.

“He is doubtful, but I hope he will be fit by Wednesday,” explained Dávid.  

Dianis Kristopans  or “the tiny one“ as they call him in Prešov, will play his part for Latvia. The 215cm left back knows the Slovakian team well and Peter Dávid is aware of that.

“Kristopans is probably their biggest weapon. We know a lot about him and we have to contain Dianis to be successful.

“Latvia can only surprise, that is a small advantage for them, but it is not an excuse for us. At an international level, you have to win these kinds of matches, even under pressure.

“They will be dangerous, especially at home, where I expect difficult match,” admits Dávid.

The Slovakian team will meet together in Trnava on 31 March. Peter Dávid has called up eighteen players, from which 17 will travel to Dobele.

“Latvia is a bit of an unknown for us. On paper they are not as strong, but they played two decent matches with Hungary and Croatia.

“They can play relaxed, stress free handball.  We will analyse their game on video together with my colleagues and sort out a strategy that will bring us success, applying it into our play in the short time we have, after we meet in Trnava,” concluded Peter Dávid.

Slovakia squad for the EHF EURO 2014 qualification matches against Latvia:

Goalkeepers: Richard Štochl (Čechovskí Medvedi/RUS), Teodor Paul (FTC-PLER Budapešť/HUN) 

Wingers: Martin Straňovský (FC Barcelona-Intersport/ESP), Tomáš Urban, Radoslav Antl (both Tatran Prešov), Miroslav Volentics (ŠKP Bratislava) 

Backcourt: Daniel Valo (HSG Wetzlar/GER), Csaba Szücs (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf/GER), Pavol Polakovič (Maccabi Rišon LeZion/ISR), Gabriel Vadkerti (Csurgói KK/HUN), Oliver Rábek, Vladimír Guzy (both Tatran Prešov), Ľubomír Ďuriš (HC Sporta Hlohovec), Ivan Kucharik (ŠKP Bratislava), Patrik Hruščák (HC winLand Michalovce)

Line players: Michal Kopčo (VfL Gummersbach/GER), Martin Mazák (FTC-PLER Budapešť, HUN), Martin Slaninka (ŠKP Bratislava) 


TEXT: Tomáš Čunčík / cor
 
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