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07.03.2016, 10:10
March the month of challenges for Russia
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PREVIEW: With the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification and the qualification to the Olympic Games happening within a few days there is a lot to win for Russia – or lose
 

March the month of challenges for Russia

March 2016 will be an extremely important and crucial month for Russia‘s women’s national team as the team of head coach Evgeny Trefilov has to fight on two fronts.

First, they will try to take the lead in Group 6 of the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification when they meet Denmark in a double-header on 9 and 12 March.

Given the fact that Denmark and Russia have both won their first two respective qualifiers against Turkey and Portugal, the team that wins both matches can already secure the berth at the Women’s EHF EURO 2016.

Second, courtesy of their 5th place at the World Championship 2015 in Denmark, Russia secured the ticket to the Olympic qualification and will play against Poland, Sweden and Mexico from 18 to 20 March for two tickets to Rio 2016.

On a side note, it was 25:21 win against Denmark, the team they will now face again in the EHF EURO Qualification that secured them the 5th place at the World Championship.

Two major challenges in such a short time is a lot to take for the Russian team and injuries troubling the squad complicate the situation even more.

Experience returning

Right wing Yana Uskova is injured and left wing Polina Kuznetsova is suffering from a serious knee injury.

Line player Ksenia Makeeva is sidelined as well. However, this position looks less troubling for Trefilov than the decision whom to field on the wings.

“Trefilov nominated Maya Petrova, who can help in attack, as well as Yana Zhilinskayte for the national team,” says Russian handball expert Artem Shmelkov.

“In addition, right back Elena Slivinskaya can play on the line as well. It’s a position she played at the World Championship.

“Elena is a fantastic player and returned to the national team after ten years. Last time she played was at the World Championship 2005."

It is well known fact that Trefilov trusts experienced players, which is why the MVP of the World Championship 2009, left back Lyudmila Postnova, has also joined the team, resuming her career after a two-year break.

One of the Russian aces in the matches against Denmark could be the well-established teamwork.

Seven players of the national team represent Rostov-Don that made it to the quarter-final of the Women’s EHF Champions League without losing a match.

The team’s playmaker Ekaterina Ilyina has scored 80 goals already and is among the top strikers in the EHF Champions League.

“Ekaterina Ilyina is playing a fantastic season. She has a strong wrist shot, and not all goalkeepers can react so fast. She is also a high jumper and a fast runner.

“Together with Anna Vyahireva and Daria Dmitrieva she forms the main stars of the Russian team,” says Artem Shmelkov.

The Russian squad for the EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against Denmark on 9 and 12 March

Goalkeepers: Anna Sedoykina (Rostov-Don), Tatiana Erokhina (HC Lada), Victoria Kalinina (Astrakhanochka), 

Court players: Olga Akopian (HC Lada), Ekaterina Atkova (HC Luch), Irina Bliznova (HC Lada), Vladlena Bobrovnikova (Rostov-Don), Ekaterina Vetkova (CSM Bucuresti), Anna Vyahereva (Astrakhanochka), Polina Gorshkova (HC Lada), Ekaterina Davydenko (Rostov-Don), Daria Dmitrieva (HC Lada), Iana Zhilinskayte (Astrakhanochka), Ekaterina Ilina (Rostov-Don), Victoria Kalinina (Astrakhanochka), Kristina Kozhokar (Astrakhanochka), Ekaterina Marennikova (Zvezda Zvenigorod), Maya Petrova (Rostov-Don), Lyudmila Postnova (Astrakhanochka), Anna Sen (Rostov-Don), Elena Slivinskaya (Rostov-Don), Olga Chernoivanenko (HC Vardar), Ekaterina Fanina (Dinamo-Sinara)


TEXT: Filipp Kolotushkin / ts
 
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