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16.10.2013, 12:27
Pytlick believes in a new golden era for Danish women
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INTERVIEW: Danish coach goes into the EHF EURO 2014 qualifiers full of confidence in his young team
 

Pytlick believes in a new golden era for Danish women

It has been a long time since Denmark last won a medal at a major women’s championship, but according to national team coach Jan Pytlick, the Danish women are heading into a new golden era.

The first step was taken, when a young and renewed Danish team finished fifth at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia and Pytlick is adamant that the result was no coincidence.

Therefore, the Danish coach is looking forward to the upcoming start to qualification for the EHF EURO 2014 in Croatia and Hungary with optimism.

He has just announced his squad for the matches in Group 1 against Austria and Lithuania. 22 players will turn up for a short training camp on 21 October and that squad will be reduced to the 16 players who face Austria in Roskilde three days later. Jan Pytlick expressed his confidence in his young squad to ehf-euro.com.

ehf-euro.com: You had no test matches ahead of the qualifications matches, and in fact this will be the first time the players are together since the World Championship play-offs against Turkey in June. What does this lack of preparation mean to you and the team?

Jan Pytlick: It is obvious that I would have liked a few test matches. As you said, we have not been together since June, and of course that is a long time. However, I think that the conditions are pretty much the same for all nations. I noticed that Norway played some test matches against Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but apart from that, I believe that more or less all countries are working under the same conditions as we are.

That is the way things are with the tight schedule which the players have, and which also includes Champions League matches every weekend.

ehf-euro.com: Your team is also in for a tight schedule for the rest of the year. Soon after the qualifiers, the World Championship in Serbia will be waiting. How well do you feel prepared for those challenges?

Jan Pytlick: I think we are very well prepared. We have a very strong and promising squad. I have nominated 22 players, 16 out of which are going to play the first qualification match against Austria, and that is an extremely versatile squad, in which I have a lot of confidence.

ehf-euro.com: In that squad you have included U19 international Anne Mette Hansen from 1. Division club Ajax Kobenhavn. Why is she in the squad for the senior team all of a sudden?

Jan Pytlick: Her nomination is based on her brilliant performances at the Women’s 19 EHF EURO this summer. I want to measure her against the best players now. It will be interesting to see her train with the players of the senior team, but of course she is still a player who is developing – she is not a complete player for the senior team yet.

ehf-euro.com: How do you rate your chances in the first two qualification matches against Austria and Lithuania?

Jan Pytlick: Lithuania is a team we simply have to be able to beat, even away. With all respect to the Lithuanians, we should be better than them.

Austria at home is also a task we should be able to solve, although they some very good players, such as Katrin Engel and Sonja Frey who are doing very well in Thüringer HC, as well as Gorica Acimovic, whom we know from her time in Viborg. The Austrian starting line-up is very strong, but I believe that they will have a problem compared to us, when it comes to the substitutes. However, we should definitely play our best to be able to defeat them.

ehf-euro.com: How do you see the group in general – Ukraine being the fourth team?

Jan Pytlick: I see our group as very strong, with Ukraine, Austria and ourselves battling for the two places in the final tournament. Ukraine are very strong, but it does not really matter, whether we finish first or second in the group. What matters is that we simply have to qualify and I am convinced that we will.

ehf-euro.com: The fifth place and the performance in general at the EHF EURO 2012 caused certain optimism in Denmark regarding the women´s national team. Is the team heading for another golden era?

Jan Pytlick: I definitely think we are. Right now we are in a process that should bring us medals in 2015 (at the World Championship in Denmark). We made a lot of changes in the team last year and we are still in the middle of that process, but I think it looks really good.

ehf-euro.com: Denmark were pretty close to reaching the semi-finals at in 2012, Do you expect medals before 2015?

Jan Pytlick: That is absolutely possible, although I will definitely not guarantee any medal at the World Championship in Serbia this year, partly due to the way that tournament is being played.

Right after the group, you start knock-out matches which means that just one bad day may send you out of the competition. But I would certainly not rule out a medal in the near future.

The Danish squad to face Austria on 24 October and Lithuania on 27 October:

Goalkeepers: Cecilie Greve (HC Odense) Søs Søby (København Håndbold) Rikke Poulsen (Vejen EH)

Back court players: Stine Jørgensen (FC Midtjylland) Pernille Holst Larsen (København Håndbold) Sofie Strangholt (Randers HK) Anne Mette Hansen (Ajax København) Lotte Grigel (Team Esbjerg) Kristina Kristiansen (Team Tvis Holstebro) Jane Schumacher (Skive FH) Line Jørgensen (FC Midtjylland) Louise Burgaard (Viborg HK) Camilla Dalby (Buducnost)

Wingers: Ann Grete Nørgaard (Team Tvis Holstebro) Maria Fisker (Viborg HK) Mie Augustesen (København Håndbold) Maibritt Kviesgaard (Team Esbjerg) Trine Østergaard (FC Midtjylland) Gitte Andersen (Randers HK)

Line players: Susan Thorsgaard (FC Midtjylland) Marianne Bonde (København Håndbold) Mette Gravholt (Team Tvis Holstebro)

Keep up to date with all of the latest EHF EURO news on the new Facebook page.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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