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27.05.2017, 19:10
Cupic: "We have not played our best game yet"
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BLOG: Right wing Ivan Cupic talks about Vardar's debut at the VELUX EHF FINAL4, and looks back to that miraculous victory with Kielce last season.
 

Cupic: "We have not played our best game yet"

Hello everyone,

Since this is my first blog it is a little bit challenging for me as there are many things that I would like to share with you. But let’s start with some good news. Few days ago I became father for the fourth time and I’m very happy because of this. I have another daughter and now I’m the luckiest person with so many girls in the house J

The right decision

When I decided to join Vardar last summer, there were a lot of questions. I came here from a club that had just won the Champions League and achieved remarkable results in the past years.  Most of the players wouldn’t make this step since Kielce were a higher level than Vardar, but I decided that it’s time to leave the Polish team and enter the Vardar project.

This club had a plan and vision to reach the finals of the Champions League and somehow I felt that this is Vardar’s year. This is a place where people live for handball and I think that the whole country dreamed of the FINAL4 in the last four years. And honestly, although it wasn’t an easy decision, I think that moving in Vardar was the right choice for me.

Vardar have got among the best handball conditions in the world. This handball complex consists of a great handball arena, gym and everything that a player needs. Having good conditions is very important since we spend most of the time in this complex for trainings and video.

When I’m not in the hall, I hang out with the other players from the club and thanks to the similarities between Skopje and Zagreb, it wasn’t difficult for me to adjust to the new environment. However, when it comes to the personal life, it’s not easy for me because my family is living in Zagreb, so each time we have free days I use this opportunity and fly to Zagreb.

Fresh memories from Cologne ‘miracle’

We have a little time left until the season’s finals. Speaking about this I still have fresh memories from previous season and the miracle that happened in Cologne. When you speak about winning the Champions League, you always start the story from the beginning. We started the competition with defeat against Szeged but then we managed to finish the group phase on the second position.

The end of the season came fast, and in just two weeks we had a lot of fronts to fight on: the domestic championship, the cup and the FINAL4. This is a period when every player wants to train more and more in order to achieve better results…

When it comes to the big games you have to take into consideration every detail. In Cologne we had an interesting match against PSG in the semi-finals and won, while our opponent Veszprém earned the spot in the final in extra time. We started thinking about how much time we have to rest, and how much time our counterpart has, and while we made this analysis the final match came…

When the match started everything went wrong. We were five down at half-time and every player was angry because of this. In the second half, it was even worse and I thought that my team would lose with a very big difference. I only wanted the match to finish earlier. And suddenly, a miracle happened. The difference melted: nine, eight, seven, penalties… In this crazy period I started thinking: if my team would lose on penalties and we came that close... I simply couldn’t believe what happened.

In the next moment we were sitting in the dressing room and were in shock that the trophy was next to us. Miracle, miracle, miracle and something like this happens once in 100 years and I’m happy I was part of this amazing story.

The best is yet to come

Playing for the national team is something special for all of us, especially for players coming from the Balkan counties. But when it comes to club handball, Cologne is the best place to be. I’m lucky that my career brought me to Cologne five times and I can say that the glamour, the whole organisation, 20,000 fans are a dream for every handball player. Hotels full of people, fans everywhere, the city lives four days for our sport and this is a real handball holiday that every player should experience.

This year I know that we are not among the favourites but we can hope and believe that our team will perform well in the two spectacular matches that are ahead of us. When I speak with the other guys in the dressing room, I’m pointing out that we will experience something new and something completely different. We have to be aware that, for sure, our team will face really stressful situations in which every detail can be decisive.

Our first match is against Barcelona, a great team with such a tradition, and looking on paper, they are definitely the favourites. The pressure is on their side but we showed this season that we can play amazing in defence and offence. We are talking about only one match and we are preparing really hard as we have only few days left.

The whole season has been an amazing one for our team as we have great results in the Champions League until now and also in SEHA League. And I hope that after 4 June we will have beautiful memories from Cologne. I think that we have not played our best game yet…

That’s all for now guys.

Take care,
Ivan


TEXT: Ivan Cupic
 
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