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EHF Media Portal

Flash quotes: match day 1

Post-match statements after the opening day of the EHF EURO 2022 in Hungary and Slovakia.

Group A
Slovenia vs North Macedonia
Denmark vs Montenegro

Group B
Hungary vs Netherlands

Group C
Serbia vs Ukraine
Croatia vs France

Group E
Spain vs Czech Republic
Sweden vs Bosnia and Herzegovina

Group F
Russia vs Lithuania
Norway vs Slovakia

GROUP A

SLOVENIA vs NORTH MACEDONIA 27:25

Debrecen, 13 January – Quotes from Slovenia head coach Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE), right wing Blaz Janc (SLO) and North Macedonia head coach Kiril Lazarov (MKD) and line player Stojanche Stoilov (MKD) after Slovenia beat North Macedonia 27:25 in the preliminary round 1 match at the EHF EURO 2022 in Debrecen on Thursday.

Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE) – coach:

On the win over North Macedonia:

"It was a challenge for us. In the end, we showed that we are a good team. We knew this Balkan derby will be a tough match. I’m satisfied with two points. It’s the first match and we lacked the efficiency in the attack. I wish good luck to North Macedonia."

On the next opponent, Denmark:

"It’s going to be hard. We only had one test match and it was showed today we need to play better. We are playing against best in the world and that says enough. They have so many great players we can’t even count now. We have to prepare ourselves good. Nothing is impossible, we saw that North Macedonia won in qualifiers. We have a good team and we will give our best."

Joze Baznik (SLO) - goalkeeper

On the feelings after his EHF EURO debut:

"It was my first match with the team and I feel good. In the first half we were very disciplined. In the second half we lost our concentration, but in the end of the game we stayed focused and we could win thanks to our great teamwork. I try to not think about Covid which is easy because we have a lot of matches and a lot of work to do. At the same time it is a difficult situation but we have to live with it."

Blaz Janc (SLO) - right wing

On the win against North Macedonia:

"We didn’t play the best today but opening match is always a difficult one. We were preparing to play against [Kiril] Lazarov and him not playing was a surprise for us. They have young players and they showed they have good future in front of them. We are satisfied with two points."

Kiril Lazarov (MKD) - coach

On the defeat against Slovenia:

"I’m proud of my team and my players. We were playing against better opponent. Coach Vranjes did a great job with them. I’m disappointed 'cause I think we might have deserved one point. We are in a process of a generation change and we had some problems in the squad. We have to concentrate on Montenegro now."

On the next opponent, Montenegro:

"We have to prepare well. Montenegro has better individuals, but I believe my team will play with heart and make a good team. I think we still have much more to show, that they can play better."

Martin Tomovski (MKD) - goalkeeper

On the start to the EHF EURO:

"Stepping on court in the opening game of a championship is always difficult for both of the teams. We hoped to play with less technical and tactical mistakes; it was our fault to make Slovenia the winner of the game. We can learn our lessons from this defeat. Our next match is against Denmark, when we will need to correct all the mistakes we have made today."

Stojanche Stoilov (MKD) - line player:

On the loss against Slovenia:

"Slovenia didn’t play as good as they can. We were preparing very good for them and we really did make them work hard for win. We didn’t have enough experience today to maybe take point(s). I hope we will be better in the next match."

On coach Lazarov not playing:

"We showed in a test match we can play without him. He believes in us and that’s important. We are playing good, have young players and I do believe we will be better in the future."

DENMARK vs MONTENEGRO 30:21

Debrecen, 13 January – Quotes from Denmark head coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), right wing Lasse Svan (DEN) and left back Mikkel Hansen (DEN), and Montenegro technical director Drasko Mrvaljevic (MNE) and centre back Vasilje Kaludjerovic (MNE) after Denmark beat Montenegro 30:21 in the preliminary round 1 match at the EHF EURO 2022 on Thursday.

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) – coach

On the win over Montenegro:

"I’m very satisfied with the first half, we had good defence. In the second [half] we didn’t play good, made too many mistakes. Montenegro played very good match after a difficult last 10 days."

On the next opponent, Slovenia:

"We are playing against an experienced team. They were very good at the last EHF EURO and it will be an interesting match. It looks like it’s going to be match for the first place and if we want to take two points with us, we must win."

Lasse Svan (DEN) - right wing

On the win against Montenegro:

"We had different phases in the game and we are aware of our mistakes. We need to improve that until the next match. We are happy with two points and that we opened the tournament with a win."

Mikkel Hansen (DEN) - left back

"We played a good first half. However, in the second part of the game there have been some ups and downs. We managed to have everybody on the court, which is very important during such a long tournament as the European championship. Here we always play against high level teams, so we need everybody to take part of the job. Being considered as one of the favourites gives us motivation. I think it is going to be very hard to beat us."

Drasko Mrvaljevic (MNE) - technical director

On the loss against Denmark:

"It was very difficult for us to prepare for this competition and for this match too. We have a lot of young players in the squad and they showed they have quality. Especially in 5-1 defence against one of the bet teams in the world."

On the next opponent, North Macedonia:

"North Macedonia is an experienced team even though they have some young players in the team. At this moment, we just need to take care of ourselves, avoid new Covid-19 cases and concentrate to play as good as we can. We know it’s going to be hard but I do believe the players will fight like today."

Vasilje Kaludjerovic (MNE) - centre back

On the loss against Denmark:

"This was my first EHF EURO. It felt good to play against great team like Denmark. This was a hard match for us, we missed our head coach and many players. We gave our heart on the court, however we could not compete with them."

GROUP B

HUNGARY vs NETHERLANDS 28:31

Budapest, 13 January — Quotes from Netherlands coach Erlingur Richardsson (ISL), Bobby Schagen (NED) and goalkeeper Bart Ravensbergen (NED), and Hungary coach Istvan Gulyas (HUN), right wing Pedro Rodríguez Alvarez (HUN), right back Dominik Máthé and goalkeeper Márton Székely (HUN) after the Netherlands beat Hungary 31:28 in the preliminary round 1 match in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Thursday.

Erlingur Richardsson (ISL) — NED coach

On the win:

"We are really satisfied with the victory here today. Of course this is a big win for Holland in one of the greatest handball halls in Europe, with 20,000 spectators in a tough game against Hungary — one of the strongest European handball nations. So of course we have to say this is a historic win for us.

"I have to also give a big compliment to the players, who controlled the game. We were in the winning position from the first minute to the end and that’s a big compliment to the team.

"We played good defence in the first half and then we lost the tempo, but we managed to always keep the Hungarians one or two goals behind us."

On the next game, against Iceland — his home country:

"It will be a special game for me. We showed that we can play good games and we have been showing that for the last years. We have played some good games against strong teams. Iceland is a strong team and I know their goal here is to go to get medals, but for us it’s like, we have to just keep on showing that we can play good games. Iceland need to win that game, so we can be, not too relaxed, but we have to be still aggressive and want to take the next step, so it will be of course an interesting game."

Bobby Schagen (NED) — right wing

On the match against Hungary:

"We played a really good game from the beginning. We were in front all the time and we deserved the win. We kept cool in the end. We had some problems when we had four players on the court, but we kept our heads cool and we played really brave to the end. That’s a big compliment and a big win for our team."

Bart Ravensbergen (NED) - goalkeeper

On the match:

"We are not here just to play, we want to win. We believe in ourselves. Tonight everything went well and if we play like this we can beat a lot of teams. We played really fast handball, we made a lot of easy goals and we kept calm in the end because the pressure was there, the fans were there.

"It was an amazing atmosphere but I was very proud of the guys because even though they got back in the game, we remained calm and at the end we won the game."

Istvan Gulyas (HUN) – coach

On the match against the Netherlands:

"It was a well-deserved victory for them. We were very nervous this evening and this was not us, generally. We couldn’t stand up from this position and we couldn’t relax our players and it meant a loss for us. I hope that our next match we can cope with this pressure in this huge atmosphere."

On the next game, against Portugal:

"Our next game against Portugal and the most important thing is to control the game and control the whole match."

Pedro Rodríguez Alvarez (HUN) — right wing

On the game versus the Netherlands:

"It was not our day. We started very bad, like my coach said. There’s no time to think about this. I believe in my teammates, I believe in the staff and I believe in all the people who are working here. We need the supporters for the next two games and we need to win — that’s all."

Dominik Máthé (HUN) - right back

On how the Netherlands played:

"The opponents surprised us with their speed, we really did not anticipate that their centre back will play on such a high level. Of course, me and the team, we are disappointed as we wanted to please our family, friends, but most of all, our fans who were amazing today, but we failed.

On their next match:

"Portugal will also be a tough opponent, so we have to think through what went wrong and where we can improve."

Márton Székely (HUN) – goalkeeper

On his emotions:

"I just wanted to smile and enjoy every moment of this beautiful day, but when the match started, I felt that the final piece of our puzzle wasn’t at the right place. We’ve made childish mistakes at key moments and that led us to defeat.

"The whole team is very disappointed, we thought before the game that this could be our big day. Then it must be the next match against Portugal. I hope the arena will explode as well and we can celebrate together with 20,000 Hungarian supporters."

GROUP C

SERBIA vs UKRAINE 31:23

Szeged, 13 January – Quotes from Ukraine coach Michael Biegler (GER), Dmytro Horiha (UKR), Serbia coach Antonio Gerona (ESP) and Lazar Kukic (SRB) after Serbia beat Ukraine 31:23 in the preliminary round 1 match in group C in Szeged on Thursday.

Dmytro Horiha (UKR) – left back, Ukraine

On the result:

“We are a young team, we have a plan for several years, it is not only about this EURO. We do have a lot of work on our hands, everything is ahead of us. Tonight, Serbia were a big opponent, too strong for us, but I am sure we learnt a lot of things in this game.”

Michael Biegler (GER) - coach, Ukraine

On the defeat:

“We came here to learn and to develop a young team full of young players. We need some more time to develop, but these games are very useful in that matter. All the opponents in this group are on another level, we have to be realistic. Tonight, we should have helped our goalkeepers more, be more precise in attack.”

Lazar Kukic (SRB) - centre back, France

On the result:

“It was a big win tonight, not only for me but for the whole team. We work a lot, we put a lot of faith in what we do even though we are in a difficult situation. Tonight, we played very good, and now we will rest before thinking about the game against Croatia on Saturday.”

Antonio Gerona (SPA) - coach, Serbia

On the victory:

“It was not easy for us, or for Ukraine, to play without any friendly games ahead of the EURO. But tonight, we had the possibility to have every player step into the EURO and I’m very happy about that. It puts an end to 13 days of madness, nightmare, I don’t know how you want to call it.

"This win is for the guys who are still in our headquarters, ill. I hope this will help them recover and give them some happiness. From tomorrow, we will focus on the game against Croatia, but I think my team worked very hard in the last couple of days and deserve to enjoy the win for a couple of hours.”

Bogdan Radivojevic (SRB) - right wing

On the support from the stands:

"I did not expect so many Pick Szeged and Serbian fans to be here and cheer for me, it was amazing in the new arena. We need to go into every game like we did today. We have our first win, but we have to maintain focus, give more than hundred percent and do some video analysis for the next two games. If we do that, we will be able to live up to the high expectations we arrived with."

CROATIA VS FRANCE 22:27

Szeged, 13 January – Quotes from France coach Guillaume Gille (FRA), Vincent Gerard (FRA), Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) and right wing Ivan Cupic (CRO) after France beat Croatia 27:22 in the preliminary round 1 match in group C in Szeged on Thursday.

Guillaume Gille (FRA) - coach, France

On the tactics France prepared ahead of the game:

"It is unusual to finish the game on such a little score, especially against a talented team like Croatia. With Covid-19, we didn’t really know at which level we would be playing, so we focused on defence, because this is the quickiest way to work. Offence takes more time, while we only changed one player in defence compared to the previous competitions. We played very well in that area and I’m really happy.”

Vincent Gerard (FRA) - goalkeeper, France

On the defence France showed tonight:

"You can win competitions by playing well in defence. It’s always hard to play against a team such as Croatia, but I’m happy because we played really well. We had to make some adjustments during the preparation with Luka Karabatic being absent, but the newcomers played very well tonight. The crowd was clearly backing up Croatia so that made our performance even more special."

Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) - coach, Croatia

The key to beat France:

"We had a lot of young players and clearly, France played too well for us to win. They played amazingly defensively, they picked up some balls and scored some easy galls and that made the decision. Now we have to forget about tonight and turn to the game on Saturday against Serbia.”

Ivan Cupic (CRO) – right wing, Croatia

On what Croatia missed to win the game:

"Against France it is always hard to play. We played bad in the first 10 minutes and it feels like we carried that all the way. France were better than us, we are concentrated on the second game now, because beating Serbia will be very important for us if we want to keep going in the competition."

GROUP E

SPAIN vs CZECH REPUBLIC 28:26

Bratislava, 13 January – Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP) and centre back Eduardo Gurbindo (ESP) and Czech Republic coach Rastislav Trtik (CZE) and goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva (CZE) after Spain beat the Czech Republic 28:26 in their preliminary round 1 match in group E in Bratislava.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On the match:

"We saw an impressive Czech performance, it was really complicated for us, as always first matches are hard for us. The Czechs were very efficient and we had difficulties to find the key to open the door in the second half. Our defence was strong, and I am very satisfied with their performance – including goalkeeping - during the whole match. I am quite satisfied with our attack, as we lacked efficiency. But we have our first two points, this is what we wanted to achieve in this match."

Eduardo Gurbindo (ESP) – centre back

On the victory:

"I am happy to win those two points and I am happy with our good performance, especially from our goalkeeper. The asset of this team is that we are a team, we fought one for each other, all players took part, we can be satisfied. Now we think about Sweden, which is a tough opponent, several small issues like the shooting efficiency need to be improved."

Rastislav Trtik (CZE) – coach

On the defeat:

"We are disappointed because of the defeat, but I believe our team fought for every metre on the court and got great support from the Czech fans on the stands. The match did not end great for us but we played a brave match. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time for preparation due to COVID, but it is the same for all teams. Our defence was much better thanks to Tomas Mrkva who supported the defence in a great way.

"Unfortunately we received many suspensions, but of course we played against experienced European champions. We caused 14 technical mistakes, which proves that the Spanish defence was better than ours. They could score some easy goals, it is difficult to win the match with 14 technical mistakes. Spanish goalkeeper [Gonzalo] Perez de Vargas was the biggest problem for our attack, if we would have been stronger in attack, we would have never lost the game, so congrats to this great goalkeeper.”

Tomas Mrkva (CZE) – goalkeeper

On the match:

“Thanks to our supporters, they were really great. I am disappointed and angry as we lost, but we can be proud of this performance against the defending champions.”

SWEDEN vs BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 30:18

Bratislava, 13 January – Quotes from Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR) and line player Max Darj (SWE), and Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Ivica Obrvan (CRO) and line player Mirsad Terzic (BIH) after Sweden beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 30:18 in their preliminary round 1 match in group E in Bratislava.

Glenn Solberg (NOR) – coach

On the victory:

"We are very happy with the result, the first match of a tournament is always a difficult game. We played very good in defence in both halves, and we had two strong goalkeepers, so we are very happy with two points and the game.”

Max Darj (SWE) – line player

On the match:

“I am really happy with the first half when we played with a very good defence and goalkeepers, and we could run some nice counter-attacks. After the break, the Bosnians played long attacks, but we were prepared and our goalkeeper Peter Johannesson was very good. We are happy with the win.”

Ivica Obrvan (CRO) – coach

On the match:

"We had to play without seven regular players today, this was our main problem, as also [Dejan] Malinovic tested positive [for Covid-19]. We hope that some of the missing players can return on Saturday against the Czech Republic.”

Mirsad Terzic (BIH) – line player

On the defeat:

“There is not much to say about today’s game. Even without our problems Sweden were the favourites. We have to take the positive things like our young players who got experience. In the next matches we hopefully can use this experience.”

GROUP F

RUSSIA vs LITHUANIA 29:27

Košice, 13 January - Quotes from Lithuania coach Mindaugas Andriuska (LTU) and centre back Gerdas Babarskas (LTU) and Russia coach Velimir Petkovic (CRO) and right wing Dmitry Kornev (RUS) after Russia beat Lithuania 29:27 in their preliminary round 1 match in group F in Košice.

Mindaugas Andriuska (LTU) - coach

On the loss against Russia:

"I thought it was a really good game from both sides. It was our first game after 24 years at the EHF EURO. Everybody came a bit slow in the first part, but in the second half we were back in action and we started playing better and better. If the game would have lasted two or three more minutes, the result would have been different.”

On having so many Lithuanian fans in the stands:

"I want to thank them all. At some times, we really felt like at home and it was an amazing feeling."

On their next game, against Slovakia:

"We will go for the win. But it will be hard. Every team that is at the EHF EURO 2022 deserves to be here. We will play against the hosts, which is always difficult. I think it will be a good game.”

Gerdas Babarskas (LTU) - centre back

On the loss against Russia:

"It was a really hard game, we had some problems in the first 15 minutes, we were probably over-motivated and Russia went on and led by six games. We truly improved in the second part and we managed to cut the gap to one goal, but we failed to win.”

Velimir Petkovic (GER) - coach

On the win against Lithuania:

"I am very glad for the win and I want to praise my players for the first 15 minutes of the game, where we played very good. I cannot say the same about the second half, which did not satisfy me at all.

“An important factor was the mentality of the players, because they lacked the decisive factor in the last minutes, when Lithuania was close to tie the game. We need to improve that. Lithuania were very aggressive and I was impressed on how they played."

On their next game, against Norway:

"We can win against any team, if we do our best. We know they are a tough opponent and we will prepare for it."

Dmitry Kornev (RUS) - right wing

On the win against Lithuania:

"From the very beginning, our game was very good. However, in several minutes, the rhythm changed and we need to discuss our mistakes in the next days with our coach. We need to avoid these type of mistakes in the next games, because they could prove costly.”

NORWAY vs SLOVAKIA 35:25

Košice, 13 January - Quotes from Slovakia coach Peter Kukucka (SVK), right wing Tomas Urban (SVK), and Norway coach Christian Berge (NOR) and right back Kent Robin Tönnesen (NOR) after Norway’s 35:25 win against Slovakia in their preliminary round 1 match in group F in Košice.

Peter Kukucka (SVK), coach

On the loss against Norway:

"It was a very hard game. We knew that they are very good in defence and they play very fast. We had a lot of trouble in trying to stop their fast breaks. As the game progressed, we started to make a lot of mistakes and in a period of six minutes we lost the game, as we conceded too much. It is a pity that we lost by 10 goals, but I am happy that I gave a chance to my younger players."

On their next match, against Lithuania:

"This was always going to be the main game for us, one that we were going to try to win. If we take what we did good in this game and maintain the same level in defence, we have a chance. I saw Lithuania’s game against Russia, they started very bad, but they came back and even had the chance to tie the game. We will prepare for it and try to win."

Tomas Urban (SVK), right wing

On the outcome of the match:

"We played good in defence and our goalkeeper was good. In the first ten minutes of the second half, we conceded too much and that was it. They took advantage of all our mistakes and we lost by 10 goals."

Christian Berge (NOR), coach

On the win against Slovakia:

"It was a hard game, we wanted to play fast and Slovakia also played very fast. We had some trouble in attack and in defence throughout the game, but I am satisfied with the result and it was a good start for us.”

On their next game, against Russia:

“Now I will be going home, sorry, not home, but at the hotel, we don’t want to go home yet. I will go and try and analyse what Russia did against Lithuania. We need to be more focused and try to play better now, because this win gives us motivation. Our goal is to play good handball and that will bring wins.”

Kent Robin Tönnesen (NOR), right back

On the win against Slovakia:

"It is never easy to play the opening match. We were a bit nervous at the start, but we started to grow in the game and we were getting better and better. It is a very good start for us.”

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