Spain hope to build on a successful home World Championship
One world title to escape the crisis
Unlike eight years ago, when Spain were crowned world champions in Tunisia, the Spanish Handball Federation will now know how to take advantage of winning the World Championship, and revitalise their sport which has been suffering from the economic downturn.
The handball community in Spain trusts that their sport on the front pages of newspapers and the prominence on radio and TV, the final against Denmark had an audience of 3.5 million viewers, will not be something temporary, and will attract sponsors to the national federation and the Spanish Asobal League.
Back in 2005, every squad member of the World Championship winning team played in the Spanish league, whereas six of the current squad play elsewhere – a tendency which many in Spanish handball would like to see changed.
Among the players plying their trade abroad, is captain Alberto Entrerríos, who ended his long international career with the 35:19 victory over Denmark.
The HBC Nantes player won two World Championships, a bronze World Championship medal, a silver and bronze in the EHF EURO, and an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing 2008 during his distinguished international career.
"Alberto Entrerríos is the best player in the history of Spanish handball, both technically and tactically," said Juan Carlos Pastor, the coach who led Spain to their first World Championship success in 2005.
Current Spanish coach, Valero Rivera, trusts that Entrerríos’ absence will not diminish the expectations of the Spanish national team, a group that Rivera thinks has the ability to continue fighting for more titles in the coming years.
"Every player in this team, with the exception of Alberto Entrerríos, is at the age to continue playing until the 2016 Río de Janeiro Olympic Games," said Rivera.
The Spanish team’s next challenge will be trying to claim their first continental championship, after reaching the EHF EURO final in 1996, 1998, and 2006.
The Spainish expect that two players who could not play in the World Championship due to injury, centre back Raúl Entrerrios (finger) and winger Cristian Ugalde (leg), to be back in action and in the squad.
However, coach Valero Rivera’s future is not yet certain.
"I don't want to talk about my future. I want to think calmly and see what is best. I have not decided," said Rivera after the final against Denmark.
It is now up to the Spanish Handball Federation to capitalise on their World Championship title, a title that Spainsh handball cannot let go to waste, and reassert handball on the forefront of Spanish sport.
TEXT: Javier Villanueva / cor
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