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10.06.2014, 13:16
Successful qualification would put the stamp on years of hard work
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PREVIEW: Head coach Jan Basny has formed the Czech Republic's women's national team into well-rehearsed squad that now looks at the Women's EHF EURO 2014
 

Successful qualification would put the stamp on years of hard work

Four years ago Jan Basny took over the Czech Republic’s women’s national team and formed a squad – a well-rehearsed mixture of quality, experience and young enthusiasm – that can compete with the best in the world.

As a further proof of Basny’s success his contract was recently extended until 2017. Backed by this long-term security the women’s head coach now looks at the next short-term goal: The qualification for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia.

In their two remaining qualifiers Czech Republic face Portugal in Sao Pedro Do Sul on Wednesday before they travel home to Brno where they face Poland (live on ehfTV.com) on Saturday.

If they win at Portugal, Czech Republic will enter the last game against Poland with a slight advantage as they beat Polish side 22:19 away in October 2013 and can therefore – depending on Poland’s result against Montenegro (live on ehfTV.com) – even afford to lose by two goals.

However, this is nothing that Basny takes into consideration.

"Portugal have a specific team, playing their defence very high up on the court. I don’t underestimate them. They played very equal matches against Montenegro and Poland, despite the results.

"However, we have the quality to beat them. We are going there to win. The most important match will be on Saturday against Poland," he says.

A day full of handball

"Playing at home against Poland is a small advantage for us. However, we managed to win at Poland in a hot atmosphere, so I would not overrate the home advantage.

"It will be my first qualifier in Brno, but I hope we will have similar success there as we enjoyed in Most where we played our most important home matches so far."

The match against Poland is a part of a full day of handball, with the women’s team playing first before the men face Serbia in the second leg of the World Championship 2015 Play-offs.

Many experts had rated Qualification Group 3 with EHF EURO 2012 defending champions, Montenegro, Poland, fourth ranked at the World Championship 2013, and Portugal as one of the most difficult ones.

"If we manage to qualify from this group, we will have proven to ourselves that we are doing the job well and it would be a satisfaction for the hard work we have put in," says Basny.

"We hope Montenegro will put up a good fight against Poland on Wednesday. However, we are focussing on our games. It is partly our fault that Montenegro are already qualified and can play relaxed, stress-free in last two games, as we were unable to take any points from them."

Recovery in the focus

For the matches against Portugal and Poland Basny counts on the good form of Iveta Luzumova who won the German championship with Thüringer HC.

A special day awaits Petra Vítkova on Saturday because the DHK Baník Most line player has already announced that she will stop her international career at the end of this season.

Banik Most and Slavia Prague supply the majority of players for the national team and as the domestic season ended in a dramatic final with Most winning the title ahead of Slavia, regeneration for the things to come was very much on Basny’s schedule ahead of the two qualifiers.

"The purpose of our first training camp was for all girls to recover after a long and hard season and to get into the right mood.

"Not all the players in the squad are professionals. They have their jobs or they are students, therefore they have busy schedules throughout the season, but now they are in good physical and mental shape which is a good sign before these decisive matches," says Basny.  


TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / ts
 
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