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04.04.2013, 12:50
Finland a young team with the right attitude
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Ahead of their EHF EURO 2016 qualifier against Luxembourg, Finland are confident to make their handball future look as bright as possible
 

Finland a young team with the right attitude

Backed by two victories so far in the qualification for the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, Finland go into their third qualifier against Luxembourg on Saturday (6 April) with the the confidence that another win would almost push them through to the qualification play-offs which will be played in the first week of April 2014.

"We are only seeking victory, because there is no other alternative," says head coach Mikael Källman.

"In previous European Championship qualifications we lost to Luxembourg (e.g.23:25 in June 2012 in the qualification for the EHF EURO 2014), but perhaps we could get some advantage out of this.

"At least we learned then that the right attitude must be in place from the very start. It is not an insignificant team we have against us, so there is no point of going to Luxembourg being overconfident.

"Our team is very young at the moment. Lack of routine could be a risk factor. Lucky though, most of the young newcomers have gained international experience from playing in the major junior handball competitions," Källman continues.

Prior to the start of the qualification for the EHF EURO 2016, the qualification system for the Men's EHF EURO events had been changed.

Instead of a tournament with a round robin format, the first qualification phase is now being played in three groups with a home and away format.

The change meant that the participating teams can play international games on a more regular basis.

In case Finland win against Luxembourg, they could potentially even afford bringing in young candidates to train them into the routines of the national team.

Cyprus would only have the chance to catch up with them, should they win their own match against Luxembourg and then eliminate a five goal deficit in the direct encounter with Finland in June 2013 as they lost 21:26 against Källmann's team in November 2012.

The experiences these young players would gain from an international game would grow and would be beneficial for their future.

With regards to his players, head coach Källman considers the situation positive – there is a good base to build on.

The Finnish Handball Federation has already for several years systematically invested in the coaching of the national junior men’s teams.

Some of these young players have already been selected for the men’s team and some more newcomers can be expected to join in the future.

"I would be very satisfied in case two – three young newcomers would become part of the national team every year.

"The turnover would be reasonable. It would also increase the competition to get to play matches.

"Everyone would watch carefully over his own position.

"It would give a kick to a young newcomer and the motivation would be in place.

"The young player would notice that he has now reached this step, and with yet a small improvement he could become part of the national team," Källman says.

The head couch states, however, that Finland are only in the starting blocks as of yet.

Victories are not won without effort, but without them it is not possible to move forward.


TEXT: Johann Ruys / ts
 
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