18.06.2015, 08:04
Modesty reigns in Sweden ahead of European Beach Handball Championships

FEATURE: Sweden travel to Lloret 2015 with a new women's team and a men's coach who will be already satisfied with a tenth place finish

Modesty reigns in Sweden ahead of European Beach Handball Championships

Ahead of the European Beach Handball Championships in Lloret de Mar (30 June to 5 July), the expectations are modest in the Swedish men's as well as the nation's women's team.

Tilda Wiiand, who is coach for the women, is going to Spain with a new team and admits that she had not had much time together with the players ahead of the event.

Jesper Knutsson, who is in charge of the men, has a more experienced squad at his disposal and was also able to train more often compared to the women, but still he would already be satisfied if his team finished within the top ten.

"We had a training camp three weeks ago, but apart from that we have not had the opportunity to be together with the players," says Wiiand. “However, they have been playing at various tournaments and that way had their own preparations to a certain extent.

"We have a relatively new team this time, and the players obviously need to gain some experience. Still, we come to Spain with the aim to finish as high up as possible!

"I know the other teams in our group (Norway, Ukraine, Spain, Croatia, Montenegro and Netherlands) pretty well, and there are some really good teams there, but I would say that we have a chance against all of them.

"Even though we will need the tournament to gain experience, and even though beach handball is still a relatively new sport in Sweden, we definitely go for a position in the top.

"If you do not aim for the top, you will never reach it, and of course we would love to play for the medals. Anyway, we are not going to be there just for the sake of being there."

"If we play our best, anything can happen"

Compared to his coaching counterpart for the women's team, men's coach Jesper Knutsson takes a more experienced team with him to Spain.

"We have been training much more ahead of this European Championship than we did ahead of the previous one, and we just finished second in a tournament in Plock in Poland.

"We have kept all our players from the 2013 European Championship and have managed to add two more, so we are taking ten players to Spain.

"I think we have a team who can be a threat to most teams at this EURO,” Knutsson tells eurohandball.com.

"I think we have ended up in the toughest group, and it will be tough to finish among the four teams who proceed (to the main round), but no opponent is going to get an easy match against us,” Knutsson warns Sweden´'s opponents in the preliminary round, Croatia, Ukraine, Spain, Poland and Germany.

"If we play at our best, I definitely think we have a good chance to proceed to the next stage, and from then, anything can happen.

"It would be a dream for us to qualify for the next World Championship, but first of all I would be satisfied with finishing better than at the latest European championship, which would mean that we at least finish tenth."

TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts

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