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20.07.2015, 10:51
Romania coach: "This team can achieve everything it wants"
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FEATURE: Romania enter the Women's 19 EHF EURO as the current youth world champions and while the team hopes that success will last for more than just one year, it has also changed the players' lives
 

Romania coach: "This team can achieve everything it wants"

Last year, Romania's up and coming generation of young female players took the handball world by storm when they won gold at the Women’s Youth World Championship.

The team’s aim is now to build on that top podium finish and bring home European gold from the Women’s 19 EHF EURO (23 July to 2 August in Valencia, Spain) for the first time since 2000 when Romania came first in the Women’s Junior European Championships in France.

"We need to work harder, we need to get better. The last years were awful and we need to change that. We are looking into the future with hope. This team can achieve everything it wants," says the team’s head coach Aurelian Roșca.

The players remain cautiously optimistic. "It may sound boring, but our objective is to play good and be a team," says centre back Cristina Laslo, who made it to the all-star team last year.

"This was our secret recipe last year and we want to build on that. Of course, the results are important and we need to be one of the first four teams at the end of the tournament."

The last year has been, however, a roller coaster for most of the players.

Only three of the players that won gold at the World Championship have played in the Romanian first league, while almost all the others plied their trade in the second league.

Meanwhile, Roșca has been named HCM Baia Mare’s coach and hopes to qualify for his first Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches.

"Of course, our lives have changed. We are more respected and handball fans were excited that we brought home the gold medal. But with great expectations comes great responsibility and we have to micromanage everything now. Nothing can be left aside, we need to be professionals," says Laslo.

"We did not believe what was happening last year. It was an amazing feeling, one that we want to live again. I know we were the surprise package and nobody was expecting that from us. This time, they will all be watching, so we need to be better," continued Laslo.

Red flags before the start

However, poor performances against France, when they lost their two last test matches ahead of the championship 30:34 and 28:37, served like a warning just in time for the team.

"Personally, I want to forget as soon as possible. I know that we will face them in the first game in the tournament and we will be ready for everything they will throw at us. These two games, which we lost in bad fashion, will be totally different from the official one," says Laslo.

Besides France, Hungary and Sweden will be Romania’s opponents in the preliminary round, but Laslo sees other teams as the major opponents in Romania’s quest for a medal.

"Yes, Hungary can be a dark horse, but I see Denmark, Russia, Montenegro and Germany as the best teams.

"But we want to win and bring back another gold medal. I know Romania is one of the best countries in the history of the under-19 EHF EUROs and we want to see this status etched in stone," concluded Laslo.


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / ts
 
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