PREVIEW: When Spain play Netherlands in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, it is the EHF EURO 2014 silver medallists facing the runners-up of the World Championship, and Spain’s head coach Jorge Duenas says there is not much separating the two
Duenas wants Spain to forget about the Olympics and focus on Netherlands
It is daunting task that awaits Spain in the upcoming Rounds 3 and 4 of the Women’s EHF EURO Qualification when they face World Championship 2015 silver medallists Netherlands on 9 and 12 March.
The World Championship and the team’s Last 16 exit has been a disappointment for Spain, who had won silver at the EHF EURO 2014, and head coach Jorge Duenas sees the upcoming double-header as a chance to restore the team’s morale.
However, what troubles the coach is that he has to take his players’ mind off the looming Olympics and make them focus on the EHF EURO qualifiers
“All of them are already thinking about the Olympics. I have to make my players focus on these EHF EURO qualifiers, and then we'll think about Rio, because that is still far away.
“These matches against the Netherlands have a lot of significance,” says Duenas.
Spain won their first two qualifiers against Austria and Bulgaria and sit jointly on top of Group 3 with Netherlands who also have four points on their tally.
This means that should any of the two teams win both upcoming matches, they would secure the ticket to the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 already.
However, Duenas is aware of the Netherlands’ strength. Not only because of the team’s recent silver medal at the World Championship, but also because Spain lost once to Netherlands in the EHF EURO 2014 Qualification.
“We will play against a tough team. Netherlands were already playing at a great level and now they have shown what they are capable of when they won silver at the last World Championship.
“They have grown exponentially after this great World Championship and they have a very good team with very good players.
“I think these two matches will be very close games and the best players will eventually bring the decision. Players like Broch or Pollman for the Netherlands and Nerea or Barbosa in our team.”
The Spanish squad for the EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against the Netherlands:
Goalkeepers: Silvia Navarro (BM. Remudas), Darly Zoqbi (Fleury)
Left wings: Eli Pinedo (Bera Bera), Amaia González (Deportivo BM. Aula)
Left backs: Beatriz Fernández (Bera Bera), Lara González (Siofoc KC), Alexandrina Cabral (Fleury)
Centre backs: Macarena Aguilar (Siofoc KC)
Right wings: Marta López (Fleury), Carmen Martín ( CSM Bucuresti)
Right backs: Nely Carla Alberto (Brest Bretagne HB), Marta Mangue (Brest Bretagne HB), Nerea Pena (FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria)
Line players: María Núñez (ES Besançon feminin), Elisabet Chávez (Fleury), Ainhoa Hernández (BM. Zuazo)
TEXT: Adria Barrio / ts
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