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20.02.2016, 10:00
Dutch women eager to retain top form
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FEATURE: The Netherlands want to take their World Championship form into the double-header against Spain when Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification resumes in March.
 

Dutch women eager to retain top form

The Dutch women’s team cannot wait to get back on court.

Netherlands coach Henk Groener announced his squad for the March 9 and 12 matches against Spain in early February, no less than five weeks before they resume the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Phase in Group 3. 

Picking his 18 players was not a tough job for Groener, who stuck mainly with the same names that helped the Netherlands win silver at the IHF World Championship two months ago – their best ever result in a major competition.

Groener will rely on the same squad for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Metz, France, the following week.

The coach has only made minor changes by adding goalkeeper Annick Lipman and right wing Ailly Luciano, while dropping left wing Sanne Hoekstra.

Lipman replaces Jasmina Jankovic, who injured her knee in the lead-up to the World Championship.

Netherlands and Spain each had comfortable wins in their opening two matches in October and now share the lead in Group 3, which also includes Austria and Bulgaria.

Left wing Michelle Goos believes the Dutch team have now become even closer thanks to their successful run at the tournament in Denmark.

“It doesn’t really matter who is playing, we are doing it together,” Goos told the Dutch Federation website handbal.nl. 

“Nobody says, ‘I have won silver.’ It’s always ‘we’ when it’s about our team. You see there are hardly any changes to the squad. It has been pretty consistent for years now.”

All 18 players will gather on Monday, March 7, and train in Topsportcentrum Almere, where 16 of them will take on Spain that Wednesday. The return fixture will be played in Valladolid three days later.

Coach Groener’s main concern for now is playmaker Estavana Polman, who was hospitalised with heart problems following a Danish league game with her Team Esbjerg last Monday.

Having suffered from irregular heartbeat before, Polman felt the problem become acute again towards the end of Esbjerg’s game against Viborg. She underwent medical tests but was released from hospital the following day.

“Everything is under control, and the doctors have not told me anything I didn't know already,” Polman told Team Esbjerg’s website. “I have suffered from irregular heart rhythm for some years, and sometimes it goes away by itself, but (this time) it did not.”

Polman was hoping to return to training after taking a full week off.

“We have to monitor it but I think I will be back on court soon,” she was quoted on the website of leading Dutch sports magazine Helden, which had Polman on the cover of its latest print issue. “The doctors are optimistic, so I am not worrying either.”

Dutch coach Groener was previously aware of Polman’s health issue as she had suffered from it once before while with the national team. The coach added that the Dutch medical staff will examine Polman again immediately prior to the team’s preparations for their matches against Spain. 

Dutch squad for the Women’s EHF EURO Qualification matches against Spain:

Goalkeepers: Marieke van der Wal (Virto / Quintus), Tess Wester (SG BBM Bietigheim), Annick Lipman (Vipers Kristiansand)

Court players: Jessy Kramer (Vipers Kristiansand), Laura van der Heijden (Team Esbjerg), Debbie Bont (Kobenhavn Handbold), Lois Abbingh (HCM Baia Mare), Sanne van Olphen (Toulon Saint Cyr Var Handball), Ailly Luciano (Metz Handball), Danick Snelder (Thüringer HC), Lynn Knippenborg (Vipers Kristiansand), Yvette Broch (Györi Audi ETO KC), Nycke Groot (Györi Audi ETO KC), Kelly Dulfer (VfL Oldenburg), Michelle Goos (Succes Schoonmaak/VOC Amsterdam), Martine Smeets (SG BBM Bietigheim), Angela Malestein (SG BBM Bietigheim), Estavana Polman (Team Esbjerg)


TEXT: Eric Willemsen / cg
 
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