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30.11.2016, 21:48
Modest Czech Republic set realistic goals for Sweden
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TEAM CHECK CZECH REPUBLIC: Head coach Jan Basny’s team target to win at least one match in a competitive Group C at the Women's EHF EURO 2016
 

Modest Czech Republic set realistic goals for Sweden

After missing out on the last two major tournaments, Jan Basny has successfully completed the rejuvenation of his team with number of youngsters who are heading to their first major tournament.

As always, the Czech Republic are very modest when speaking about their ambitions - no big words, but hard work and realistic goals. Should they repeat the result from 2012, they will be happy.

With a roster consisting of very experienced, internationally established players like Jana Knedlikova and Iveta Luzumova along with complete newcomers to the EURO makes for an interesting mix.

They have a difficult start of the tournament against Hungary followed by the clash against Montenegro, with the Czechs focusing to snatch points from the latter. Don’t expect the team to fight for medals, but be sure, these girls love playing for their country, and they will fight like the lion on their crests to make their compatriots feel proud.

The roster

Jan Basny can enjoy the luxury of having no major injury woes. There is an interesting mix of very experienced players and young rising stars.

Jana Knedlikova and Iveta Luzumova are two players featuring in 2016/17 edition of the Women’s EHF Champions League. Together with Salcakova on the wing and Hrbkova in the back court, they should lead the team. This quartet of experienced players played at the last two major events for Czech Republic – the World Championship 2013 and the EHF EURO 2012.

They will be supported by the young shooting guns in the back court, most significantly Galuskova, Kordovska and Jerabkova. Youngsters from the WHIL League who can make a difference in games and benefit from being relatively unknown.

The attack

Responsibility will lie on the shoulders of Thüringer’s top scorer in Women’s EHF Champions League, centre back Iveta Luzumova. Jan Basny will apply the same system that brought success in qualification. A strong back court and shooting from Luzumova and Ruckova, who is in great form with Most, will be key.

The Czechs have quality in the back court, and strong wingers. Veronika Mala is in fine form recently, but even more expectations are on Jana Knedlikova. The Györ right winger was recently named Czech player of the year.

The team has had problems with the shooting efficiency from distance and wasted a lot of chances in the preparation games in Cheb -- something Jan Basny is aware of and feels it must be improved within a week. “I would like to spread the responsibility amongst the whole team. Our game needs to be unpredictable,” he said.

The defence

If we should mention a weakness in this squad, it would be the defence. Lack of communication, aggressiveness and activity are the main areas that cause concern.

After the traditional defensive pillars Sterbova, Semerska and Vitkova retired from the national team, Jan Basny is looking for a stand out player, who would be suitable for the role of defensive coordinator.

Martina Weisenbilderova is the chosen one to take on this role. She will feel special in Sweden, as she plays for Kristiandstad. Together with her, young players like Jerabkova, Kordovska and Ruckova should fill up the spaces in the defensive line. Iveta Luzumova is an option in a slightly different defensive system.

Defence was the main talking point of the Czechs during the qualifying campaign and Jan Basny admits there is room for improvement in this area.

Satrapova takes the place as number one goalkeeper after Ranikova’s retirement. She will be backed by Mullnerova and Kudlackova. Especially by Kudlackova as she was a surprise package in the preparation tournament in Cheb.

The coach

After taking over the Czech national team in 2010, the team has qualified for the EHF EURO 2012 after an eight-year absence. The 53-year-old Basny lives and breathes French; after fourteen years in Corsica coaching Ajaccio, Basny now sits on the bench of Nantes.

Very modest and realistic with excellent communication skills, Basny is not flying high in the clouds and respects the quality of their opponents. At the same time, he expects his team to overstep its boundaries and improve match by match. Respected at home and abroad, Jan Basny enjoys his spells as national team coach. And the players like him a lot as well, which is a positive factor in such a tournament.

The outlook

“It is already success for the Czech Republic to be part of the EHF EURO 2016,“ revealed Jan Basny.
The truth is, the Czech Republic have been drawn into an extremely difficult group and they are considered outsiders. Montenegro look to be the most playable opponent as the Czechs consider the Hungarians very strong opposition and traditionally they do not enjoy playing against Denmark.

A lot will depend how the chemistry will work between the experienced players and the young blood. Should the youngsters take on their chance, the Czechs could surprise.

The team have set themselves realistic goals. To finish in a position that guarantees first pot ahead of next qualification draw for the World Championship. To win at least one match in the group, and to advance from the group into the main round.

The 18 players (to be reduced to 16 for the EURO) invited for the final training camp in Luhacovice before travelling to Sweden

Goalkeepers: Lucie Satrapova (Kristiandstad), Dominika Mullnerova (DHK Banik Most), Petra Kudlackova (DHC Slavia Praha)

Wingers: Kristyna Salcakova (ATH Achenheim Truchtersheim), Jana Knedlikova (Györi Audi ETO KC), Veronika Mala (VFL Oldenburg)

Line players: Petra Adamkova (TPSG FA Göppingen), Alena Stellnerova Setelikova (DHC Slavia Praha)

Back court: Veronika Galuskova (DHC Slavia Praha), Iveta Luzumova (Thüringer HC), Martina Crhova (Kristiandstad), Sarka Marcikova (TJ Sokol Poruba), Kamila Kordovska (DHC Slavia Praha), Marketa Jerabkova (DHK Banik Most), Helena Rysankova (Stella Saint-Maur Handball) Michaela Hrbkova (TPSG FA Göppingen), Martina Weisenbilderova (Kristiandstad), Petra Ruckova (DHK Baník Most)


TEXT: Tomas Cuncik / bc / ts
 
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