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11.06.2013, 10:33
Belarus hope to stay second
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Three key players suffer from injuries before decisive matches against Iceland and Slovenia in Group 6
 

Belarus hope to stay second

Yuri Shevtsov, Belarus' head coach, has announced his squad for the crucial EHF EURO 2014 qualifying matches against Iceland and Slovenia. The Belarusians hope to stay on the second place in Group 6 and qualify for the European Championship together with Iceland, that have already secured a spot in the 16-nation tournament in Denmark.

Practically all the best players are in the team, but not everyone is fully fit. Barys Pukhouski and Siarhei Shylovich, two leaders of the recent Challenge Cup winners SKA Minsk, suffer from injuries, as well as Kiryl Kniazeu from HC Meshkov Brest. However, the Belarusians still hope that these players, or at least some of them, will be able to participate in the upcoming matches.

But so far, Pukhouski, Shylovich and Knyazev missed two friendly matches against Ukraine, as well as Siarhei Rutenka from FC Barcelona Intersport, who joined the national team only on Sunday. Without those leading players, the Belarusians had little success with their southern neighbours — 26:27 and 30:30.

The next two matches will be far more important. On 12 June in Minsk, Shevtsov's team will face Iceland. They have already guaranteed a spot at EHF EURO 2014, but still one point shy of clinching the top position in the group and thus the better seeding for the preliminary round draw (21 June in Herning, Denmark).

However, most likely everything will be decided on 16 June. On that day, the Belarusians will play against their Slovenian rivals in Ljubljana. At the moment, Slovenia occupy the third place in the group and are two points behind Belarus.

An interesting fact: Slovenia's head coach Boris Denič has already signed a contract with the Belarusian club HC Meshkov Brest… In addition, for Belarusian superstar Siarhei Rutenka it will be his first trip with the national team to Slovenia, the country he played for between 2004 and 2008 (40 matches).

"The season is finishing, but physically and psychologically most players are quite OK. I do not see any emptiness in their eyes. The players are looking forward to the crucial games and are really eager to be successful," the Belarus' head coach Yuri Shevtsov told eurohandball.com.

"But I am really worried about the injuries. Because of them, we found ourselves in a very difficult situation. Hopefully our doctors will help the injured players to recover. Otherwise it will be hard,” Shevtsov added.

Belarus squad for the EHF EURO 2014 qualifiers against Iceland and Slovenia:

Goalkeepers: Mikalai Zianko (Victory-Regia), Kazimir Kotlinski (Poven), Vitali Charapenka (HC Meshkov Brest).

Wingers: Maksim Baranau (HC Meshkov Brest), Ivan Brouka (Dinamo Minsk), Dzianis Rutenka (Dinamo Minsk), Vitali Kazhaneuski (Victory-Regia).

Back court: Viktar Zaitsau (SKA), Dzmitry Kamyshyk (SKA), Siarhei Shylovich (SKA), Kiryl Kniazeu (HC Meshkov Brest), Siarhei Rutenka (Barcelona), Valiantsin Charnou (Kronon), Aliaxei Shinkel (Kronon), Dzmitry Chystabayeu (Permskie Medvedi), Hleb Harbuz (Dinamo Minsk), Dzmitry Nikulenkau (Dinamo Minsk), Barys Pukhouski (SKA Minsk).

Line players: Maxim Babichev (Dinamo Minsk), Mikhail Niazhura (Victory-Regia), Aliaksandr Tsitou (SKA Minsk), Viachaslau Shumak (HC Meshkov Brest).

 


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / br
 
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