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14.01.2016, 10:55
Russia ready to rise again
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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN #16: Russia are ready to show their strength with lethal wings, rising stars and the guidance of an Olympic champion.
 

Russia ready to rise again

After the Men’s World Championship 2015, where Russia finished a disappointing 19th, the EHF EURO 2016 presents an excellent opportunity for the national team to show its strength. Led by new coach Dmitrii Torgovanov, Russia plan to reaffirm their fan base through a successful performance in January.

The team recovered from Qatar 2015 to confidently pass through the EHF EURO 2016 qualification, reserving their spot at the final tournament as the second-ranked team in Group 5 after Hungary, leaving Ukraine and Portugal behind.

The team’s strength

The strength and main striking power of the Russian team is the well-established game played by their wings. The best strikers of Macedonian club HC Vardar are from Russia – Timur Dibirov on the left wing, Daniil Shishkarev on the right, and left back Sergey Gorbok have scored more than 100 goals together in this season's VELUX EHF Champions League, and now they have the opportunity to continue their strong teamwork on an international level.

For Torgovanov, who started working with team Russia in 2015, the EHF EURO 2016 is the first big test and the team will certainly make every effort to create a good impression.

Torgovanov’s long career as a player and coach in the Russian Superleague and the German Bundesliga, as well as the title of Olympic champion at Sydney 2000, mean he has extensive high-pressure international experience, which should help the team achieve their ambitions in Poland.

The team’s weakness

The choice of goalkeeper may cause a problem for the head coach as the team is currently lacking a clearly marked leader. Viktor Kireev from St. Petersburg HC and Vadim Bogdanov from KS Azoty-Pulawy are rivals in this position, and it remains a mystery who will start between the posts on the first game day.

Russia were hit by bad news earlier this week as ThSV Eisenach’s Azat Valiullin came down with bronchitis. He and Alexander Dereven, Vardar’s left back who previously suffered from torn ligaments, will now both miss the EURO.

The team’s star

Dibirov is the strongest player when it comes to attack, and looks well-prepared for the national team to begin their EURO campaign. The left wing of the Russian national team has scored 52 goals in the VELUX EHF Champions League this season, and is consequently the top scorer for Vardar right now. Dibirov is undoubtedly one of the main hopes for the team.

 The ‘hidden gem’

Torgovanov included a few players in the EURO squad who were born between 1994 to 1996. One of them, who can become a secret weapon, is 19-year-old Ruslan Dashko. Dinamo – Viktor’s young player is quickly progressing on the right wing.

He was one of the leaders of the national team at the Men’s Youth (U19) World Championship 2015 in Russia, and now has a reputation for his technique and strong throw. Despite his age, Dashko has plenty of match practice with his club in the Russian Superleague under his belt.

Outlook

Russia were drawn into Group D where they will play against Denmark, Hungary and Montenegro. Neither the coach nor the players lose hope against the difficult odds, and say that they will fight to reach the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

To achieve their goal, the Russian team need to proceed to the main round in Poland, where will face teams from Group C (Spain, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia). They will need every effort to achieve the main goal and book the qualification phase tickets for Rio.


TEXT: Filipp Kolotushkin / cg / ts
 
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