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01.01.2014, 13:18
The world champions aim for Europe's handball crown
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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN: Spain travel to Denmark with the goal of winning their first European Championship
 

The world champions aim for Europe's handball crown

It is a mere year ago that Spain celebrated World Championship gold on home court and with that title already pocketed, the goal for EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark is very clear: gold again.

However, the trip is far away from being a 'walk in  the park' as Europe's handball throne, due to the strong competition thorughout the entire tournament, is regarded by many as more difficult to climb.

Furthermore Spain enter the tournament with a new coach as Manolo Cadenas took over from Valero Rivera in spring 2013.

Cadenas (pictured right) has to deal with and also introduced some changes compared to the team that won World Championship gold.

Some are in, some are out

Alberto Entrerrios, Aitor Arino, Arpad Sterbik and Angel Montoro will not be part of the squad in Denmark.

Entrerrios announced his retirement after the World Championship. Arino was the replacement for injured Cristian Ugalde one year ago. Now that the left wing, who plays for MKB-MVM Veszprem returns, Arino has to step back.

After winning the 2013 Copa Asobal with his club on 22 December, FC Barcelona goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik underwent a left knee surgery and the doctors' advice is that he won't be participating at the EHF EURO.

Montoro, who currently plays for Toulouse in France being on loan from his original club FC Barcelona, has not been nominated ​​by Cadenas.

However, his Toulouse teammate, goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas, has been nominated and will be looking for his chance between the posts.

Together with Cristian Ugalde, Raul Entrerrios, Alberto's younger brother, who was also injured during the World Championship, returns to strengthen Cadenas' squad.

Many eyes will be set on Alex Djushebaev. The young Vardar Skopje right back, who is the son of legendary player and coach, Talant Dujshebaev, celebrates his debut in the Spanish senior team.

The team has been preparing in Cantabria, Spain, since 26 December, and will play a tournament against teams from Egypt, Brazil and Sweden in Cordoba before travelling to Aalborg for their EHF EURO opening match against Hungary on 12 January.

Key positions

The goalkeepers will be vital for Spain's success. Paris Saint-Germain's reserve goalkeeper, José Manuel Sierra, is expected to be the starting one, but his spot is far from secured because Gonzalo Perez de Vargas has been playing very well - last season for BM Granollers in the Asobal league as well as this season in Toulouse.

Manolo Cadenas relies heavily on his young players and it will not come as surprise if de Vargas ends up being the starter.

Raul Entrerrios and Joan Canellas will be vital when it comes to Spain's attack and even more important will be their game together with Vive Targi Kielce line player, Julen Aguinagalde.

In defence, one of the key players to look out for is Viran Morros.

This is the second time that Spain go to an EHF EURO event with the world championship trophy under their belt.

In 2006, after they had won the World Championship 2005, the team that was coached by Juan Carlos Pastor played ​​an almost perfect tournament and reached the final without losing a match, before France ended Spain's dreams with a crushing 31:21 victory.


TEXT: Adria Barrio / ts
 
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