France´s line-player Bertrand Gille is still hungry for titles and aims for success at the upcoming EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.
Enjoying every single moment
Olympic champion, twice World champion, twice European champion, World handball player of the year, European Cup winner – rarely has a player had such a long list of successes as pivot Bertrand Gille (33). But the Frenchmen, who plays for HSV Hamburg, is still hungry for more success at the EHF EURO 2012, as he reveals in this interview with ehf-euro.com.
ehf-euro.com: How does it feel when you don’t have to play any qualification matches for an event, as France has qualified directly for every major tournament in recent years? Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?
Bertrand Gille: This depends on the team and the situation. As the average age in our team is quite high, it’s more of an advantage.
ehf-euro.com: France is rated as the favourite for the EHF EURO 2012. Isn’t it boring to be the favourite all the time?
Bertrand Gille: There’s a big difference between being the favourite, and actually winning a title. As long as we successfully defend our EURO title I don’t mind if we are the pre-tournament favourites or not.
ehf-euro.com: The French team hasn’t changed that much in recent years – is there any team which is more well-rehearsed than yours?
Bertrand Gille: I think we are one of the most well-rehearsed and stable teams currently, but, the Spanish team has also played together for a long time.
ehf-euro.com: What is your special role in the French team?
Bertrand Gille: My role is very versatile. Of course I’ve played for this team for a long time and I know all of the players very well. I define my most important task as helping on the court, wherever help is needed.
ehf-euro.com: France is the only EHF EURO 2012 participant which is already qualified for the Olympics 2012 in London. Does this remove the pressure from your team?
Bertrand Gille: Yes, there’s less pressure than on the others, but we still have to give 100 per cent to be successful.
ehf-euro.com: You have to face Spain in the Preliminary Round. Is this already the path-breaking match?
Bertrand Gille: Not necessarily! During the World Championships 2011 we faced them in the Preliminary Round, too, tied – and yet became World Champion. A victory would mean an advantage, but even if we lose, nothing is lost overall.
ehf-euro.com: Your Preliminary Round group is full of top teams – what’s your opinion about those opponents?
Bertrand Gille: Every opponent has extra-ordinary players and quality in their team. But there will be a certain pressure on all of them concerning Olympic qualification. I think that all our opponents will play with full respect, but with an even higher level of dedication in Serbia.
ehf-euro.com: Which teams – except France – are your favourites for the EHF EURO 2012?
Bertrand Gille: I believe in the "usual suspects", such as Spain, Denmark, Croatia and Poland.
ehf-euro.com: France are currently World, Olympic, and European champions at the same time. How do you stay motivated when you have won all possible titles?
Bertrand Gille: It’s always easy to motivate for such a tournament as the EHF EURO. I know that my personal chances to compete at such tournaments will become less and less – so I make sure that I enjoy every single moment at such major events.
ehf-euro.com: Where does this typical French „hunger for titles" come from?
Bertrand Gille: I’ve no idea! All I know is that my hunger is not satisfied yet…
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TEXT: Mark Hegedues
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