PREVIEW: Italian women looking to stay in the European elite at upcoming Beach Handball EURO 2017
New coach, same goals
“We have to defend the tradition of Italy in beach handball,” says new Italian women’s coach Luigi Toscano on the eve of the Beach Handball EURO 2017 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Toscano took over from Tamas Neukum who had been in the role since 2007 and had created that “tradition” after overseeing a memorable period for the Italians including, in 2009, a EURO gold in Larvik and World Games title in Taipei. The summer of 2015 saw another EURO medal, with the Italians gaining bronze after beating hosts Spain in a shoot-out.
Added to that, a gold at the 2015 Mediterranean Beach Games in Pescara on home sand means that Toscano is stepping into some big shoes.
“Obviously we go to Zagreb with the goal to gain the best outcome,” he stated. “We will arrive with a team as much as similar as the one of the last year, but with some other players who I have had chance to test at the ebt Finals in Gaeta.
“The Italian goal will be to confirm its ranking at the top of European beach handball.”
Helping them to stay at the top will be goalkeeper Monika Prunster, captain of the team and voted Best Goalkeeper at the 2015 EURO, along with left back Anika Niederwieser who appeared in a global beach ‘All-star Team’ at an IHF Beach Handball Exhibition Match held in July 2015 at the headquarters of the IOC in Lausanne in front of IOC President Thomas Bach and IHF President Dr Hassan Moustafa.
TEXT: Matteo Aldamonte (FIGH) / Andrew McSteen / ts
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