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08.08.2016, 09:39
Sweden fully believe in themselves ahead of Croatia 2016
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PREVIEW: A successful preparation has given the Swedish under 18 national team a lot of self-confidence ahead of the Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2016 in Croatia
 

Sweden fully believe in themselves ahead of Croatia 2016

Sweden’s under 18 national team heads to Croatia and the Men’s 18 EHF EURO (11 to 21 August) without too much knowledge of their upcoming opponents but with a lot of self-confidence.

Their belief in their own skills stems from a test tournament they played in Spain at the end of July.

Sweden won the event after a 28:28 draw against the Spanish hosts, a 31:23 win against Norway and a 35:26 victory against Portugal.

As all four teams participate at Croatia 2016, it comes to no surprise that the Swedes were content with their own performance.

“We did very well, and the performances in the tournament really strengthened the young players’ self-confidence.

“At the same time, we had the opportunity to test a lot of our players and several formations in our defence as well as in our attack. In every respect it was a successful trip,” says national coach Jerry Hallbäck, a former Swedish international.

Focusing on their own qualities

Sweden were drawn to Group C alongside Croatia, Czech Republic and Iceland. Of the teams they met at the test tournament only Portugal (drawn to Group D) are potential main round opponents. Spain and Norway (in Group A) are in the other half of the tournament.

The first two teams of each group qualify for the main round in which the teams from Groups A and B will meet in one group and the teams from C and D in the other.

Jerry Hallbäck admits that he does not know much about his team’s opponents in the group phase or a possible main round in Croatia.

In case the Scandinavians reach the main round, they will meet three of the teams from Group D which consists of Germany, Serbia, Portugal and Poland.

“We know nothing about the other teams in our group, but that is normal, when you attend the first championships with these young guys. The conditions are pretty much the same for all teams.

“We will simply have to focus on our own qualities and skills, particularly in our opening match against the Czech Republic.

“At least, we will get a chance to look at Croatia and Iceland before we meet them,” says the coach who is understandably reluctant to reveal his ambitions on behalf of his team, given the limited knowledge of the opponents.

“We have not really talked about our objectives yet, but our first goal will obviously be to progress from our preliminary group.

“Then we will have to take it from there, but our preparations definitely give reason for optimism,” says Hallbäck.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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