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23.05.2016, 11:36
Denmark enter decisive qualifiers without first-choice goalies
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NEWS REPORT: Despite having to replace his two top goalkeepers, Denmark’s head coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen is not afraid of failing to qualify for the Women’s EHF EURO 2016
 

Denmark enter decisive qualifiers without first-choice goalies

Denmark have to replace their two top goalkeepers for their two final Women’s EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against Turkey and Portugal at the beginning of June.  

Sandra Toft is definitely out for both matches, while there is serious doubt the shape of Rikke Poulsen as both are still recovering from brain concussions sustained earlier in the season.

“Sandra is partly still suffering from the aftermath of the brain concussion she sustained at the World Championship last December, but she was hit in the head again in the Norwegian league play-offs, and she may have sustained another concussion on that occasion, so she is definitely out,” explains national coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen.

Rikke Poulsen, who plays for Viborg HK, received a shot to her head in the Danish league bronze medal match against Team Tvis Holstebro. She might recover in time, but the coach does not count on that.

“She might be ready for our home game against Portugal (5 June), but even if she is, she will not have played a match for three weeks, so it might be better to try someone else.

“After all Cecilie Greve has played well in our latest internationals,” says Bruun Jørgensen who has also nominated Mathilde Juncker from SK Aarhus and Christina Elm from København Håndbold.

Denmark are currently ranked second in Group 6. Russia, who are already qualified, top the group. The Danes have four points, while their upcoming opponents Turkey and Portugal are both on two.

Despite having to replace his first-choice goalkeepers, Bruun Jørgensen does expect his team to qualify for the final tournament in Sweden this December.

“We should be a sufficiently large handball nation to compensate for problems like this, but of course, if more key players get injured,we may be in trouble,” he admits.

EHF Champions League winners returning

However, things are looking more promising as Bruun Jørgensen  can count again on Women’s EHF FINAL4 winners Line Jørgensen and Maria Fisker who topped the podium with CSM Bucuresti at the beginning of May. Both were injured when Denmark missed the qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games back in March.

Bruun Jørgensen is working with a squad of 25 players in his training camp ahead of the qualifiers which starts on 25 May. At the beginning he had nominated even 31 players, but injuries to six players, including Toft and Poulsen, have reduced the number to 25.

“It makes good sense to have our qualification squad with us, too, when we are working with the national team. “We are planning to work with a larger squad than usual in the future, so we can monitor the individual development of more players over time,” says Bruun Jørgensen who will not cut down his squad to 16 players until just before leaving for Turkey for the first qualifier.

Denmark are playing away against Turkey on 1 June and at home against Portugal on 5 June.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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