Omeyer: “We never get enough”
Triple World champion, double Olympic and European champion, quadruple VELUX EHF Champions League winner, former World Handball Player of the Year – Thierry Omeyer is one of the most successful handball players in handball history and is gearing up to play in the 2013 World Championship in Spain.
Despite his huge success, the goalkeeper is still eager to win every match and every possible title, as he reveals in this interview with eurohandball.com.
eurohandball.com: How do you and your teammates manage to get yourselves motivated after the consistent success?
Thierry Omeyer: When you have won a title once, you want to win more. We never get enough, we are always hungry for more. We have already tallied a number of titles and we know what we are able to do in the future, this gives us a tremendous boost to our confidence.
eurohandball.com: If France manage to win the tournament once again, you will be part of the first team in handball history to claim a World Championship hat trick. How difficult will it be?
Thierry Omeyer: This would be a great story, but getting on top of the podium is very hard to achieve. Although we have won the last two World Championships, we will have to start from scratch in Spain, and this competition will be really tough.
Everyone wants to beat the defending champions, every team will be highly motivated against France, and this time the opponents are very strong.
eurohandball.com: Your Preliminary Round opponents are Germany, Montenegro, Brazil, Argentina and Tunisia. Which of them do you expect to be your main contender?
Thierry Omeyer: In my opinion Germany and Montenegro have the strongest squads and will fight for the first three positions in this group alongside ourselves.
Tunisia lost some experienced players, but have some talented players, who showed their ability at the Olympic Games. Argentina has gradually gone up in recent years, for example when they defeated Sweden at the 2011 World Championship. So there will be no easy tasks in this group. You cannot afford to take a rest, 100 per cent is needed for every game.
eurohandball.com: A lot of experts predicted the French ‘golden generation’ would come to an end after its Olympic gold medal in London in last August. However, only Guillaume Gille quit the national team. Will all of the other old hands stay in the team for Spain?
Thierry Omeyer: Unless someone gets injured, all of our experienced players will be on the team. So we will have a really good team with a lot of experience but young talents like William Accambray and Xavier Barachet as well, who have been part of the team for two years. I believe that we will have a lot of quality in our team again.
eurohandball.com: After the many big titles in recent years, are expectations high in France?
Thierry Omeyer: We have accumulated a long list of achievements and as was the case for recent tournaments we are eying the semi-finals at the very least. Expectations in France will be high again.
But we can cope with it, as this is nothing new for us. Our personal goals even exceed what the general public expects, thus we can cope with pressure.
eurohandball.com: Which teams, apart from France, are your personal favourites to make it through to the semi-finals?
Thierry Omeyer: Spain have been excellent in previous tournaments and may profit from home advantage this time. So they are a candidate for the semi-finals.
Denmark and Croatia are usually among the main contenders and have the potential to go all the way. But I expect one or two surprise teams such as Poland or Hungary to get involved in the struggle for the semi-final spots.
eurohandball.com: When you talk about surprises: Could the new match scheme including a knock-out phase straight after the Preliminary Round create some surprises?
Thierry Omeyer: Yes, those changes will indeed cause surprises. In contrast to the former system you just need to win one match to proceed, as opposed to three main round matches.
Even a team that finishes fourth in the group stage has a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals. I really like the all or nothing situations because anything can happen. The new system will create a lot of tension and will make it even harder to predict which teams will reach the semi-finals.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor