«aug 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
«sep 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567
«oct 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930311234
567891011
«nov 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2930311234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293012
3456789
«dec 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
262728293012
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31123456
«jan 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
31123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910
«feb 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728123
45678910
«mar 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
25262728123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567
«apr 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293012345
6789101112
«may 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
293012345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
«jun 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567
«jul 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930311234
567891011
AlbaniaAndorraArmeniaAustriaAzerbaijanBelgiumBosnia HerzegovinaBelarusBulgariaCroatiaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkSpainEstoniaFaroe IslandsFinlandFranceGreat BritainGeorgiaGermanyGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandIsraelItalyKosovoLatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMoldovaFYR MacedoniaMaltaMontenegroMonacoNetherlandsNorwayPolandPortugalRomaniaRussiaSloveniaSerbiaSwitzerlandSlovakiaSwedenTurkeyUkraine
 
EnglandScotland
Other EHF Sites 

31.05.2017, 15:00
Alone in a moment that you share with millions
«Go back »Print Version


BLOG: It is going to be an epic collision of four natural phenomena, that is how ehfTV commentator Tom O'Brannagain perceives the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2017

»EHF CL Channel »2016-17 Men's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Alone in a moment that you share with millions

When that low murmur, that background hum starts to shift into second gear, then third, then rises once again in clamour, in a cacophony of simultaneous outpouring of emotion and excitement, the noise rolls down upon you and wraps you in a blanket of turbulence.

As you stand on the court you are buffeted amidst the breath of 20,000 people exhaling at once. An eruption of noise, pandemonium ensues and the whistle is blown.

But long before you stand in this hallowed of places, you have made a journey. The outcome is a place here at the highest level, the process is far more difficult. Hours upon hours of training, of studying your rivals, of travelling to far-flung places. The bonding of a team. The ups and downs of days when you're playing well and when you lose.

The ability of a championship team to take the knocks and bounce back, the friendships that are forged, that allow a player to name every single member of a squad from a winning season. Sure the icing on the cake is the trophy, but the process of reaching the time and place where dreams can become a reality is just as difficult and important as the winning itself.

It took me time to realise how difficult it was to even reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Just look at all the top teams that have been left in the wake of the four, the "Fantastic Four" who have made it this far this season. That in itself is a major achievement, something I have been too quick to judge.

In seasons past, I have been, again, too quick to discount many teams, whom I believed were just making up the numbers. Three teams jump out at me instantly; Kielce, Hamburg and Flensburg, who went on to win the trophy, but whom I believed had no chance whatsoever. I could never say with certainty apart from once who was going to win, but I sure as hell knew who was going to lose.

The only time I felt certain about a team was the 2015 Barcelona team, whom I had seen dismantle KIF Kolding one February weekend, and knew at that moment that I was watching the future champions.

It shows that this competition, this "Two Day Marathon" is impossible to predict. From that first amazing final between Barcelona and Kiel, when Barca had it in the bag and managed to throw it away, we should have known that this is a place where legends are made. And in the tales of old, which we listened to at the foot of parents and grandparents, the heroes could achieve great things, impossible things with feats of fantasy that don't naturally occur.

But these men are flesh and blood. They may be functioning at a higher physical level than the rest of us, but they are subject to the same physical laws, the same emotional strain and the same psychological quandaries. I don't care how many times you have been here. You cannot explain it properly to a guy who hasn't and you cannot quantify the ebbs and flows of the game on any given day.

You can prepare, but, too often, and this is my eighth FINAL4, I have seen players rise above their normal ability and produce a display, that makes them, as the Americans would say, a "clutch" player.

The more I thought about this, the more pictures would come to my head of how I had come to perceive these teams. Naturally occurring phenomena which bring us to the realms of fantasy and wonder.

Barcelona- Old Faithful

 It is not the biggest or the most regular geyser in Yellowstone but it is the biggest regular geyser. Furthermore, it has been erupting in nearly the same fashion throughout the recorded history of the park. Through the years, it has become one of the most studied geysers. Much like the famed geyser Barcelona can just burst into action.

They are a team you can set your watch by. You just know that they will be there or there abouts when it comes to the FINAL4. Two wins separates them from the pack. Their slick passing and movement belies a steely determination seen particularly during the first leg of the quarter-final game against Kiel. Their goalkeeper Perez de Vargas, who played amazingly with a broken finger epitomises their core values.

PSG - Aurora Borealis

One of the most brilliant light shows in the heavens, it is a mass of electricity following magnetic lines of force. How better to describe Karabatic and Co. Magnetic personalities and star-studded. This is a team that defensively looks so, so strong and is one of the few teams that can score when the situation looks lost.

You may not like them, but you're gonna want to see the show. This team shines as brightly as any we have ever witnessed.

Veszprem - Vesuvius

This team is a volcano waiting to erupt, but much like the Vesuvius itself, we haven't seen its destructive power since the time of Pompeii. A club that should have had a title to its name is still dangerous. Written off by critics early in the season, they have rumbled along nicely waiting for the chance to erupt.

The pain of last years bitter defeat will drive them on and a plethora of returned stars will add fire to the dormant giants.

Vardar - Halley's Comet

Some of us may have seen it way, way back, but we've never seen it here. It's not due back across the sky for another 40 years. People may view this team as a kind of fourth team in the FINAL4, much like F├╝chse Berlin, or Chekhovskie Medvedi, but they would do so at their peril.

This team has a goalkeeper in form, a fast break that it incredible to behold and individuals that leave opponents in their fiery trail. None of the other teams has faced them this season making them as elusive as the famed comet. And we all know what the only team from Group B did last season.

I'm going into this one with an open mind. I have reasons for why each team could win and should win, but they are nullified by the strengths of the opposition. I wouldn't bet my money on a sure outcome here. It is in my opinion the most open of all the finals that I have covered.

It's an amazing achievement to come this far and I don't say that as any kind of platitude. Three teams will lose and will feel that they should have done better, but as is said in that fantasy movie "Highlander": "There can be only One"

I love handball. I love the speed and precision. I love the fans and the players. I love the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

It is the surreal situation when you are alone in a moment that you share with millions.

When that wave of emotion washes over you like a tsunami and the whistle blows, that is the precise point in time when you realise:

It's a good game of skill, but it's a greater game of will.


TEXT: ehfTV commentator Tom O'Brannagain
 
Share
CONTACT FORM