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03.12.2014, 14:55
Poland hope for return of Kinga Byzdra
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FEATURE: Recent results have made Poland optimistic about their chances at the EHF EURO 2014 despite the fact that one of their star players might be missing
 

Poland hope for return of Kinga Byzdra

Despite the fact that Poland have not participated in an EHF EURO event since 2006 no one should underestimate head coach Kim Rasmussen’s team.

This is very much due to their impressive performance last year at the Women’s World Championship 2013 when they reached the semi-final, beating Romania and France along the way.

And now, with the EHF EURO 2014 starting in just a few days, ‘Rasmussen’s gang’, as it is often called by the media in reference to the famous Danish comedy ‘The Olsen Gang’, is ready for a new challenge.

Poland qualified for the EHF EURO courtesy of a last-gasp away win Brno against Czech Republic.

In the lead-up to the EHF EURO Poland last weekend played a tournament in Spain where they suffered two losses – first at the hands of Spain (17:23), then against Brazil (33:22) – before they finished the event with a 30:11 win against Tunisia.

Pride and confidence

However, they can still draw confidence from the fact that they beat Brazil one year ago ahead of the World Championship in Serbia, which puts them among the last teams to beat the current world champions.

And despite the fact that everyone knows that their preliminary roung group with joint hosts Hungary, Russia and Spain is far away from being an easy one, there, from a Polish point of view, many more reasons to be optimistic.

For example, Kim Rasmussen can be proud of his key players' performance in the Women’s EHF Champions League this autumn.

HC Leipzig’s Karolina Kudlacz scored 41 goals which places her among the top scorers, Larvik HK’s Alina Wojtas played a huge role in the Norwegian team’s rise to the top and the MKS Selgros Lublin trio, Marta Gęga, Agnieszka Kocela and Joanna Drabik, played an impressive campaign as well despite the fact their team did not reach the main round.

Comparing the current with the Polish squad at the World Championship in Serbia 2013, the  biggest changes took place on the wing positions.

Only for Kinga Grzyb the EHF EURO 2014 will be the second major tournament in a row.

For Kocela, Karolina Zalewski (Issy Paris Hand) and Katarzyna Janiszewska (19-year-old right wing from Vistal Gdynia) it will be the first opportunity to make their mark on the international handball scene.

On the other hand back players Karolina Semeniuk-Olchawa and Malgorzata Stasiak will miss the championship because of injuries.

A bit of a different case is Karolina Szwed-Orneborg who interrupted her handball career after having left HC Leipzig and opened a furniture shop in Gdansk.

The biggest worry, however, for Kim Rasmussen and all Polish handball fans is Kinga Byzdra’s injury which occurred in Women’s EHF Champions League match.

The Buducnost centre back has problems with her knee ligaments after having slipped on the floor, putting her participation in doubt.

"Our victories in Croatia against Serbia and Germany (at the Croatia Cup in October) showed that there is a big potential in our team," says Rasmussen.

"The girls have understood that the fourth place last year wasn't just a coincidence. But we are realistic when it comes to the EHF EURO.

We know we can go home after three group matches as we were chosen from Pot 4, but we will do our best to show that this will not happen."


TEXT: Michal Pomorski / ts
 
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