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24.05.2018, 14:47
Broch: "We are just doing an incredibly great job"
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INTERVIEW: Coming off another EHF Champions League triumph with Györ, line player Yvette Broch talks about the Netherlands' final EHF EURO 2018 qualifiers and the final tournament in France
 

Broch: "We are just doing an incredibly great job"

In March the Netherlands missed a first chance to book their ticket for the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 when they lost to Hungary on home court.

However, qualifying for France still looks like a formality for the 2016 silver medallists, who face Belarus (31 May in Minsk) and Kosovo (2 June in Almere) in the remaining two matches of Group 7. All matches will be streamed live on ehfTV.

Coach Helle Thomsen has to do without several household names, most notably Estavana Polman (left foot) and Angela Malestein (broken nose and finger), who are both recovering from injuries. Also missing is Sanne van Olphen, who has ended her international career following persistent knee problems.

Qualifying for France would cap a triumphant season for Yvette Broch. Apart from the international success with her Hungarian club Györi Audi ETO KC, the line player won bronze with ‘Oranje’ and was part of the All-star Team at the World Championship 2017 in Germany in December.

ehf-euro.com: Was winning the Women’s EHF Champions League title with Györ for a second time any different from last season?
Yvette Broch: It was very emotional. This time it felt different because our season has been so tough. We have had so many injuries and we had to dig really deep. But we kept fighting, kept believing. That is why this feels like a true victory. Last year was fantastic, of course, but this year, in the middle of the season, I thought: ‘Pfff, how are we going to do this?!’ The expectations were as high as ever, and no matter if you have five injured players or not, people will still expect the same from you.

ehf-euro.com: In the end it was the team performance that gave Györ the edge over Vardar in the final of the EHF FINAL4 in Budapest?
Yvette Broch: Yes, our team is so fantastic. I don’t know how to explain this. Many people have asked me: ‘Why do Györ have such a good team spirit?’ When we went into extra time, we just looked at each other and smiled: ‘Let’s do this, girls, let’s do it!’ We wanted it so badly. Of course, we were exhausted as such a weekend is so tough. But because we went through so many tough moments during the whole season, we were better prepared for this.

ehf-euro.com: With so much international success on club level, do you think your role within the national team has changed? Do you feel even more like one of the guiding players?
Yvette Broch: I try to share my experiences with the players from the Dutch team. Some players don’t know how it is as they don’t play matches on such a high level all the time. I think it is important for the Dutch team that more players get this experience. I try to take a leading role here.

ehf-euro.com: The Netherlands have been in the semi-finals of every major tournament since the World Championship 2015. What is missing for the gold medal?
Yvette Broch: We have won a few silver medals and a bronze in recent years. For us, those were incredible achievements. To win gold we have to take an extra step. Then everything has to be right. To win against teams like France or Norway, you have to be super. We still have to improve ourselves to get there.

Many people now expect us to always finish in the top three and beat all opponents easily, and always the question comes up: ‘When will you win this gold medal?’ Sorry, but have a look at it from a different perspective: how small the Netherlands are and how small handball in the Netherlands is, and how well we are performing. Compare it to France and to Norway, where handball is one of the major sports with so much more attention, so much more resources. That is a huge, huge, huge difference. So we are just doing an incredibly great job.

ehf-euro.com: Are enough talents coming up who gradually can take over from this outstanding generation of Dutch players?
Yvette Broch: Some young girls train with us and I see there is a lot talent. I really hope that it has not been just our generation, and that the NHV and the HandbalAcademie keep putting all their energy in developing those talented players. Then I expect that there will be another strong generation so we can pass the baton…

ehf-euro.com: … and keep the ‘handball mania’ in the Netherlands going.
Yvette Broch: Yeah, we are super happy that many more people have become familiar with handball. It is a terrific sport but it received way too little attention in the past. That has completely changed now. Our matches are sold out within five minutes, while a few years ago we were glad when 500 fans showed up at our games.

ehf-euro.com: What do you expect from the matches against Belarus and Kosovo?
Yvette Broch: It is very simple: We must win those matches, period. That is the only thing that matters - which doesn’t mean it will be easy. In our first match against Belarus in September, they missed a few players who are back now, so that team will be stronger this time. Kosovo at home? OK! Belarus away? That will be a tough game for us.


TEXT: Eric Willemsen / ts
 
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