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06.06.2014, 11:23
"We must not fail against Turkey," says Spain coach Duenas
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PREVIEW: The Spanish women's national team has the odds in its favour for an early qualification to the EHF EURO 2014, but head coach Duenas warns not to take anything for granted
 

"We must not fail against Turkey," says Spain coach Duenas

The situation for Spain in Group 4 of the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification is simple. If they win against Turkey in Ankara on Saturday, the 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallists have made it to the final tournament in Hungary and Croatia.

Currently they top the group together with Netherlands - both teams have six points each. Turkey are ranked third with four points and still have chances, albeit reasonably small ones, to qualify for the Women's EHF EURO 2014.

When Spain and Turkey met for the first time in October 2013, the Spanish side took home a never-threatened 28:11 victory.

In their final match of this qualification campaign Spain face Italy on home court on Saturday, 14 June.

"The most difficult aspect of these two games is the time of the season we are in. For the players, who play in Spain, the season ended more than two weeks ago. For some of those who play outside Spain, it will only end this Saturday.

"This season has been long and hard, and the players are exhausted. These two games are very important for us as we want to finish first in our group," says Spain head coach Jorge Duenas.

"If we had won against the Netherlands, this would have been the best because we would have been already qualified. But in the first game against them we played very badly (Spain lost 22:27) and we had to beat them home by a bigger margin to win the direct encounter (Spain won 29:22). This gives us an advantage now, and for that reason we must not fail against Turkey," explains Duenas.

"What I'm afraid of is that we go to Turkey thinking that everything is done and dusted. If we don't focus on the game, it can turn against us. I have to mentally prepare the players for this end of the season, because if we don't do well, everything we achieved in March (at the previous two qualification rounds) will be gone.

"Our strong point is our defence. If we can defend like we have done in the best of our times, it makes us even more dangerous on the court because we can play with more ease in attack.

"We will try and achieve exactly that against Turkey, and we will also try to stop their game flow so that they have to rely on individual actions."

Spain's women's national team is a balanced mix of young players and experienced players.

For Duenas this is a good combination: "Young players are giving us that extra bit of fighting to win the games and they also bring some fresh attitude and joy with them which transmits that to the more experienced players.

"We are in a good balance, and the young ones every day are taking on more responsibility."

The Spanish squad for the Women's EHF EURO 2014 Qualification matches against Turkey and Italy

Goalkeepers: Silvia Navarro (BM. Remundas), Ana Temprano (Bera Bera)

Left wingers: Eli Pinedo (Bera Bera), Naiara Egozkue (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, GER)

Right wingers: Marta Lopez (Fleury, FRA), Carmen Martín (BM. Atco. Guardes)

Left backs: Nely Carla Alberto (Fleury, FRA), Beatriz Fernandez (Fleury, FRA), Elisabet Chavez (OGC Nice-HB, FRA), Lara Gonzalez (Metz Handball, FRA), Patricia Elorza (Bera Bera), Alexandrina Cabral (Thüringer HC, GER)

Right backs: Marta Mangue (Fleury, FRA), Ana Isabel Martinez (Bera Bera)

Centre backs: Macarena Aguilar (Randers HK, DEN), Beatriz Escribano (OGC Nice-HB, FRA)


TEXT: Adria Barrio / ts
 
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