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24.03.2014, 14:20
Young talents out to prove themselves
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PREVIEW: Italy look forward to their Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification double-header against Turkey on 27 and 29 March
 

Young talents out to prove themselves

It is a very young Italian women's national team that takes to the court for the EHF EURO 2014 Qualification double-header in Group 4 against Turkey on 27 and 29 March.

Italy want to win their first match in their campaign after they conceded defeats aganist Netherlands and Spain, the two favourites to come out on top of this group, in Rounds 1 and 2 of the qualification.

Many players nominated play for Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma, the team set up by the Italian Handball Federation in 2011 as part of the Olympic Project "Rio 2016" in which talented young players receive a special training programme and play international matches.

The average age of the national team is just 22.

After two matches have been played, Italy are ranked level with Turkey, with both teams on zero points.

The two matches they play, first on 27 March in Chieti (ITA), then on 29 March in Ankara (TUR), therefore become important in the battle for third place - and a potentially better seeding in future draws - in Group 4.

"We arrived at the most important moment of our season," says head coach Marco Trespidi.

"From the beginning we have focused on these matches against Turkey, especially on the match on Thursday (27 March) at the Santa Filomena Sport Hall of Chieti.

"For us it is crucial to get these points to move up in the rankings and beating Turkey would be for us a very important step forward.

"The Italian players are doing well, we are working a lot on tactics these days in Rome. We know that Turkey is a team affordable for us. We do not know if (Yezil) Özel will play, one of the most talented players in the Turkish national team.

"Without her Turkey are certainly easier to play against, but we'll find this out later."

The two latest successes on international level for Italy were two victories against Lithuania in the qualification for the Women's World Championship, and Rafika Ettaqi hopes for a similarly positive result against Turkey.

"We are preparing well for the match against Turkey. We are all focused on one goal: to obtain the two points at home and do everything to win away, in Ankara (29 March).

"We know Turkey, we've played against them at the last Mediterranean Games and we hope that on Thursday things go as we want," she says.

At the Mediterranean Games in June in Adana Turkey won 28:26. This time Italy hope for the result to be in their favour.

The Italian squad for the matches against Turkey on 27 and 29 March

Goalkeepers: Monika Prünster (Jomi Salerno), Francesca Luchin (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Michela Zanotto (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma)

Line players: Elena Barani (Amatori Conversano), Angela Cappellaro (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Bianca Del Balzo (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma)

Centre backs: Gaia Zuin (Alì Mestrino), Valentina Landri (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma)

Right backs: Cristina Gheorghe (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Rafika Ettaqi (Jomi Salerno)

Left backs: Anika Niederwieser (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Irene Fanton (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Laura Rotondo (Amatori Conversano), Ilaria Dalla Costa (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Khady Diome (Jomi Salerno)

Right wings: Laure Oliveri (Amatori Conversano), Eleonora Costa (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma)

Left wings: Pina Napoletano (Jomi Salerno), Alessandra Di Lisciandro (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Alessandra Bassanese (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma)

Photos: FIGH


TEXT: Matteo Aldamonte (FIGH) / EHF / ts
 
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