New team, same ambitions
2011 champions, Croatia, are going for gold again with a new line-up at the 2013 European Beach Handball Championship
New team, same ambitions
While Croatia men's team remained the same with a couple of slight changes, women's team survived change of generations after winning the gold medal in Umag, coach Mateja Brezić explained.
“Umag was the end to the team that had played together from 2005. Afterwards, some girls got married, they replaced handball with another priorities and we had to find a new solutions.
“There are only thre girls left from the Umag team, all the others are youngsters. But our ambition in Randers remains the same, we'll try to qualify for World championship.
“The experienced players will have to pull young ones along, this is their role. We had good preparations, we played tournaments and the level of our game is rising. Now we have to keep this level for Randers,” explains Brezić.
The defending champions will be in Group A for the preliminary round and the coach is expecting a rocky road to the knock out stages.
“We have a very tough group in the preliminary round. All six teams have ambition to go to the main round and all our opponents are very strong, sspecially Hungary and Norway with highest ambitions.
“However, I'm sure that we'll manage to go to through and then we'll be very close to reach our goal,” says Brezić.
Team captain Vlatka Šamarinec is one of the three experienced that have not retired after Umag. Surrounded by youngsters, she will have to be a real leader on the court.
“They are young girls, but they are not new on sand. They've played a lot of beach handball tournaments, but this will be a completely new experience to them.
“Maybe this is a disadvantage, but as I see it, it is an advantage too. Their motivation will be high and I'm sure we will not disappoint.
“The goal is to reach the semi-finals and even if we don't achieve it, we will not be disappointed.
“This is a young team and good results will come in the future for sure,” says a positive Brezić.
Croatia women's team for the 2013 European Beach Handball Championships:
Goalkeepers: Dubravka Bukovina (RK Lokomotiva Zagreb), Melita Jug (RK Trešnjevka Zagreb)
Left wingers: Kristina Smiljanić (ŽRK Lokomotiva Zagreb), Tea Milić (RK Trešnjevka Zagreb)
Right wingers: Josipa Grebenar (RK Dugo Selo), Ivana Benko (RK Zaprešić)
Line players: Lucija Babun (RK Zaprešić), Vlatka Šamarinec (RK Trešnjevka Zagreb)
Specialists: Martina Čorković (RK Samobor), Nikolina Vojić (RK Sloga Sv. Nedjelja)
Information about the European Championship
The 2013 European Beach Handball Championship throw off in Randers, Denmark, from 9 to 14 July 2013.
Entry to the event area for spectators is free. There are no tickets necessary.
Defending champions in both the men's and the women's event are the teams from Croatia.
For more information and to keep up to date visit also the event's official website and become a fan of the EHF's beach handball Facebook page.
TEXT: Zlatko Skrinjar / cor