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01.06.2015, 16:40
Perfect day
«Go back »Print Version


BLOG: "The Greatest Show on Earth" has been eclipsed by the VELUX EHF FINAL4, ehfTV commentator Tom O Brannagain insists in his last piece of the season.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Perfect day

And then there was one!

After all the matches, the highs and lows, the predictions and results, the greatest handball team of the season has won the VELUX EHF FINAL4 after a four-year wait. The heartache of last season was banished in two hours of the most complete team performance seen in Cologne.

It was a syzygy of attack, defence and goalkeeping. Gislason was quoted at the media call saying: "All elements of the game must work for a team to win the FINAL4". He was completely right, except it wasn't his team that did it.

Kielce were blown away in a final ten minutes of a semi-final that showed how strong the "spine" of Barcelona is. Saric in goal has completed a memorable year after his silver in the Worlds. He was simply majestic between the posts at the crunch time of the match. In fact his performance in the final was reminiscent of his 2011 show, when he almost single handedly won the trophy for FCB.

This time he was not alone. The "French Connection" was with him. And if there was an award for best defender, then surely Sorhaindo would have won it. He was the barrier, the block, that brooked no opposition. And when the levee broke, he had the aforementioned Saric behind him.

And then you had Karabatic. He was simply outstanding. He and Sorhaindo may hold all the top trophies simultaneously, but then add his World Player of the Year and MVP of the tournament and it has been the perfect storm for him. When something was needed out of the ordinary, he did it with such alarming ease that he made it look ordinary.

That spine of the team allowed each and every player in the Barcelona ranks to shine. Viran and Gudjon finally put their FINAL4 hoodoo to bed. Neither had ever won here in four previous attempts. Both shone on the blue floor. In fact, since February, when I saw them play against Kolding, I have extolled the virtues of this team.

My fear was they might have peaked back then. But they just got stronger and stronger and Veszprem after a tough game the previous day, against Kiel, had no power to stem the flow of a team that had more options than a stock exchange.

Barnum and Bailey's circus was once dubbed "The Greatest Show on Earth". It has been eclipsed by the VELUX EHF FINAL4. From the opening scene of darkness, the power generated in the arena from fans, performers and players alike, leaves me in awe, time after time.

 

The four teams, Kielce, Kiel, Veszprem and FCB, after long, hard seasons gave everything for fans who had paid hard-earned money to get a seat at the big table. They are a credit to a sport that still holds some value, that is not all about money, that still has a synergy between players and fans alike.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who can never repay you. It was the perfect day for all the Barcelona players and the smile on the face of Karabatic at the end, that he just couldn't hide, shows how much it meant to him.

Two Champions League golds so early in his career, led to years of famine, and the sheer relief he felt at the final whistle, coupled with the joy of victory shows how much this means. I can never repay him for sharing that moment so publicly with all of us. In a world of sport where money rules, this young man poured out every shred of emotion and reawakened in even the hardest heart a love of the game.

No more no less.

It was a beautiful moment and I couldn't drag my eyes from the screen. Victor Tomas, the captain, the boy from Barcelona, held the trophy aloft and no one could begrudge him that moment in time. They might all be listening to Lou Reed on the way home. It was the perfect day, and the Catalan team might just have some sangria in the park.

Until next season.

Thanks for listening and reading.


TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator
 
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