EHF EURO 2020 is coming: ‘Spread the joy’
Following confirmation that the entire Women’s EHF EURO 2020 will be played in Denmark, the 16 participating teams are trying to tick all the boxes to achieve their objectives.
In this first news update, and with the event now approaching fast, we look at some teams that are relying on positive messages, like Norway’s ‘spread the joy’ mantra, while others underwent serious makeovers, as Montenegro changed their coaching staff just 10 days before their first match - against defending champions France.
Montenegro: Rasmussen takes over in late coaching change
After his team’s win against CSM Bucuresti in the DELO EHF Champions League last week, Rostov coach Per Johansson announced his stepping down from the Montenegro women’s national team coaching position after the EHF EURO 2020.
However, the Montenegrin federation decided it was already time for a change prior to the start of the tournament, as Johansson has been replaced with immediate effect by Kim Rasmussen.
Johansson’s departure had remarkable similarity to the way he started in the job, as he replaced Dragan Adzic in November 2017, just days ahead of the World Championship in Germany.
Rasmussen becomes the second Danish coach to be part of the EHF EURO 2020 on home soil, after Jesper Jensen who leads the home side.
The 48-year old Rasmussen, who won the EHF Champions League with CSM Bucuresti in 2016, previously coached the women’s national teams of Poland (2010-16) and Hungary (2016-20) and is going into his fourth EHF EURO, with the third different team.
Norway are spreading the joy
Despite not being able to play on home ground, Thorir Hergeirsson’s Norwegian side is still upbeat for the upcoming tournament. “We want to spread joy in these difficult times,” said team captain Stine Bredal Oftedal in a press release via the Norwegian Handball Federation.
Prior to the start of the tournament, where they will play in group D against Romania, Germany and Poland, the Norwegian side added two friendly games against Denmark to their calendar: in Spektrum Vejle, Denmark, on Wednesday and Thursday (25/26 November), as both Jesper Jensen and Thorir Hergeirsson will finetune their preparations for the final tournament.
Russia: Injuries mounting for Ambros Martin
Russia are a powerhouse and should never be counted out, irrespective of their problems in the roster. Coach Ambros Martin, searching for his first gold medal at an EHF EURO, had his plans disrupted this month after left backs Anna Sen and Elena Mikhaylichenko were both ruled out of the tournament with knee injuries. Both had been superb for Rostov-Don and CSKA Moscow this season in the DELO EHF Champions League, scoring 53 goals between them in the European premium competition.
“The main thing right now is health and I would like to wish them a speedy recovery. Both Anna and Elena were important for the national team, but other players have to step up and I am sure we will find adequate replacements,” said Martin in an interview for the Russian Handball Federation’s official website.
Romania brimming with confidence
With Cristina Neagu back into the fold, after a tough autumn that saw her sidelined after a Covid-19 positive test and a knee injury, Romania are eyeing a big performance at the EHF EURO 2020. And the confidence is brimming, even without playing a game since January.
Therefore, the tournament opener against Germany on 3 December will be the first for coach Bogdan Burcea, who was appointed 11 months ago.
Yet he is relishing the challenge. An avid motorbike enthusiast, Burcea made a pledge before his players: “I will tour Europe in a wheelie if we win a medal at the EHF EURO 2020.”
Hungary face question marks over preparation
21 players have been called up by coaching duo Gabor Elek and Gabor Danyi for the start of Hungary’s preparations for the EHF EURO 2020.
But after winning their EHF Champions League game against Krim (32:26) on Saturday, FTC’s players quarantined voluntary after a Covid-19 positive test at the Slovenian side.
With nine players from FTC called up for the national team, only four of them were able to join the team, those who have previously been diagnosed with the virus: backs Katrin Klujber and Noemi Hafra, left wing Greta Marton and line player Noemi Pasztor.
Five others – goalkeepers Kinga Janurik and Blanka Biro, centre back Aniko Kovacsics, left wing Nadine Schatzl and left back Klara Csiszar-Szekeres – will undergo tests and see if they can join the team in the next days. Hungary are due to play two friendly games on Saturday and Sunday against Sweden.