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09.03.2016, 13:52
Italy bring future to the present against Ukraine
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PREVIEW: Italy come to the double-header against Ukraine in the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification in the same situation as their opponents: no wins and two losses, but for the Italians it is a great chance for growing
 

Italy bring future to the present against Ukraine

Italy have lost their two EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers that took place last autumn against Czech Republic and Serbia, but the team led by Tamas Neukum and Bent Dahl are full of positive signals ahead of their double-header against Ukraine.

As usual, the core of the Italian team lies on the three leading names: Cristina Gheorghe, Anika Niederwieser and captain Monika Prunster, but the striking figure is the average age of the set of names being called for these matches.

With only three athletes being born in the 1980s, the team features eight players aged under 21, with the two first-timers, Georgette Kere and Rebecca Romualdi, being born respectively in 1999 and 2000.

The not-yet-16-year-old left-handed Romualdi said in an interview a couple of years ago to take inspiration from the Romanian-born Gheorghe, another left hander in the team.

With this call to represent her country, she will have a chance to sit next to her idol on the bench, train with her and possible share some minutes on the court.

The young age of the roster should not surprise: the aim of the Italian Handball Federation (FIGH) was to make their team competitive internationally on the distance and the major goal, if not a dream, is to qualify for the first time in their history to the Olympic Games.

Under this spirit, the club of Esercito FIGH Futura was created in 2011, bringing together some of the most promising athletes of the country to build a stronger sense of a team and experience more international matches.

In the time between the latest EHF EURO 2016 Qualification matches and this upcoming fixture, the team featuring seven among the 16 names summoned by national team coaches played some high quality European teams.

Esercito FIGH Futura have so collected a win over ŽRK Zamet, currently third in the Croatian league, and many positives from a good match lost to ŽRK Buducnost, winner of last year's Women’s EHF Champions league.

During these matches, Niederwieser and Gheorghe shined bright and good performances from both players will be key against Ukraine in order to take home the first points for Italy in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification.

Not only, but their performances will also to serve once again as role models for the troop of youngsters of the Italian squad.

Niederwieser, who celebrated her 24th birthday on 28 February, is also the top scorer of the national team to date with 16 goals.

She is halfway from Gheorghe's total of 32 goals, which she scored two years ago in the six matches of qualification for EHF EURO 2014.

The Italian roster for the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against Ukraine

Giada Babbo (Indeco Conversano), Angela Cappellaro (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Eleonora Costa (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Ilaria Dalla Costa (Cassano Magnago), Irene Fanton (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Ilenia Furlanetto (Casalgrande Padana), Cristina Gheorghe (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Laura Guadagnini (Dossobuono), Georgette Kere (Casalgrande Padana), Francesca Luchin (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Anika Niederwieser (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Carlotta Poderi (Ariosto Ferrara), Monika Prunster (Esercito-FIGH Futura Roma), Rebecca Romualdi (Petrarca Arezzo), Laura Rotondo (Indeco Conversano), Rita Trombetta (Indeco Conversano)


TEXT: Giulio Gasparin / ts
 
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