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Flash quotes: match day 13

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Post-match statements after the 13th day of the Men's EHF EURO 2022 in Hungary and Slovakia.

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Iceland
Netherlands vs Croatia
Denmark vs France

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Iceland 24:34

Budapest, 26 January — Quotes from Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL), left back Elvar Ásgeirsson (ISL), right back Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) and left wing Bjarki Mar Elisson (ISL), and Montenegro coach Zoran Roganovic (MNE) left wing Milos Vujovic (MNE), right wing Marko Lasica (MNE) and goalkeeper Nebjosa Simic (MNE) after Iceland beat Montenegro 34:24 in main round group I in Budapest Handball Arena on Wednesday.

Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL) — coach

On the match:

“We have seen them, and we had great respect for our opponent today and we tried to prepare as good as possible.

“How do I see it? We have had a lot of problems during this tournament. We had 11 players yesterday in isolation. 11 key players. It’s a lot for Iceland. Now we got three back and we have still eight very good players waiting in their hotel room, without any symptoms. They are not sick. There’s nothing wrong with them and we are always waiting for some kind of CT value. It is a crazy situation. Very difficult for my players — very mentally difficult. 

“The three players who came back did a fantastic job. I want to give my best regards for that and I am very, very proud of the team today. I think we played very good defence from the beginning and in attack I was also satisfied. I think we played a good game most of the time — we had maybe not so good when Montenegro were of course trying to press us and come back. There was a short period in the second half where we were maybe not playing so good.”

On their performance in the tournament:

“But in the end, we are happy. We are at least qualified for the fifth and sixth-place match, and maybe there will be some kind of miracle happening, if Denmark beat France. We never know and we hope for the best about that — and then we are in the semi-finals.”

On Aron Palmarsson leaving the bench early in the game:

“He got a strain in his leg. We don’t know how serious it is. We are going to check him tonight and we hope for the best of course.

“Of course, this isolation or quarantine is very dangerous for the players in regards to coming back, starting to play. I have experienced this before. This is the consequence of this isolation. It has been very difficult for the players and for him also, so we hope for the best.”

Elvar Ásgeirsson (ISL) — left back

On the match:

“I think the challenge was just to keep going. We knew Montenegro have a very good team. Gudme [Gudmundsson] and the coaches prepared us for a physical game where we had to match their physicality and keep doing well what we’ve been doing good. We had little changes in the defence and they went well.

“We just tried to play with the same spirit and the same energy as we have been doing. The start was important — we were ready and we built a lead and kept going throughout the game and finished strong. So I think it was a good game from us.”

Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) – right back

On the reason for their victory:

“We played with great energy, and we worked a lot today during the whole 60 minutes. Maybe we lost the focus at the beginning of the second half but we managed to get it back. We won by 10 goals, but it was a difficult game as Montenegro played with good tempo as well, they ran a lot."

On the Icelandic support in the stands:

“Our fans are amazing. They are great supporters, and they give us extra motivation. It means a lot to us.”

Bjarki Mar Elisson (ISL) - left wing

On returning to the squad after being in isolation for Covid-19:

“I was extra-motivated after I got cleared to play. We were hungry for success and it was really important to take the lead in the beginning. We were able to do that and we controlled the game from then on.”

On their chances of the semi-finals:

“I expect and hope Denmark will beat France in the evening. In that case we need to prepare for two matches in the final weekend which would be very exciting.”

On the fan support:

“I would also like to highlight the superpower that our fans brought to the arena. It is amazing that they are here and support us, so much love for them.”

Zoran Roganovic (MNE) — coach

On the match:

“They were much better prepared today — much stronger, much more physical and not so tired as we were. I think that the whole team, my team, was in pretty bad shape except for this guy [Milos Vujovic] who is sitting beside me. His energy level is always on the next.

“We tried a couple of times to come back in the game without success. I can say I’m proud of my team and I want to congratulate them for doing the best position, the best tournament ever for Montenegro handball, men’s handball, and I’m sure that in the future this team can do much more on the scene like this one, the bigger scene.

“Maybe at the end we are not satisfied because of these three last games — three lost. But there are so many things from this tournament that we will take with us, and those things we need to improve, we will for sure be even better there.”

Milos Vujovic (MNE) — left wing

On Iceland:

“They were really good tonight. They were fast. They were scoring from all positions and I must say that they are on a really good way and I wish them luck in the future.”

On the EHF EURO 2022:

“In the end I would like to say that altogether, with all the things we did, we must be proud. Montenegro showed that we are on a good way. We did a really good job in the past.

“Montenegro must be happy because in all these games, what we had. We gave all our power and everything what we had in this situation.

“I must say from the beginning we had a lot of problems with Covid. There is one information that we had just one training that we were together. After that, all the other trainings, we were in groups — some were in the gym; some were on the court. In the end we lost our main coach and that was so confusing for us. But in the end we showed we have a really good heart and character and we beat really big teams like Slovenia, Macedonia and Croatia. Montenegro must be proud of us, because we did something that Montenegro never did in the past, so we are happy.”

Marko Lasica (MNE) - right wing

On the EHF EURO 2022:

“It was a kind of special tournament for me, as I used to play in Szeged, Hungary before. That was the greatest time of my career from which I have very nice memories. Pick Szeged is the best club in Hungary for me.”

Nebojsa Simic (MNE) - goalkeeper

On the defeat:

“I expected that we would fight and try to get the match for the fifth place which would have lead us to the world championship if we had beat Norway from the other group. But it seems the motivation for Iceland to achieve the semi-finals was much bigger than ours.

“They have an amazing team, couple of guys came back and played on a really high level. Iceland had a lot of problems in this championship, but you could never see it on them. They never looked like they were out of energy, they just kept on fighting. And they are also way more experienced than us, this generations has played lot of hard matches in the main round as well. This is the first time for us here. The experience was a big factor.”

 

Netherlands vs Croatia 28:28

Budapest, 26 January – Quotes from Netherlands coach Edwin Kippers (NED), right wing Bobby Schagen (NED), right back Tom Jansen (NED) and centre back Luc Steins (NED), and Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat (CRO), line player Marin Sipic (CRO) and left back Zvonimir Srna (CRO) after the Netherlands and Croatia drew 28:28 in main round group I in Budapest on Wednesday.

Edwin Kippers (NED) - coach

On the game:

“It was a very tough game at the end of a tough tournament. We played a lot of excited handball, with a lot of speed. We can look back on that tournament and be proud, it is the best result ever for our country, it was a big achievement. We wanted to go the main round, we did it, and we can be happy we also took some points there. And hopefully, there is more to come in the future.”

Bobby Schagen (NED) - right wing

On finishing tenth at the EHF EURO:

“We can be really proud of our result. We were a little bit tired tonight, I think both teams were, and we can be proud of our draw against Croatia, one of the best teams in Europe. We have made huge progress during this tournament and I hope we can use it in the future.”

Tom Jansen (NED) - right back

On the match:

“Every time when we play we are motivated as we want to win every game, so the motivation was there even against Croatia. Some players were tired, of course but it does not matter. We went for the break with a two-goal lead, and then we allowed to them to come back in the second half. So now we have to work on keeping it together against Croatia or other good teams. We need to learn to lead for 60 minutes and get the two points and not just one.”

On the tournament:

“For the Netherlands it is a really big achievement that we are here. We got to the Main Round, we played a draw against Croatia, we beat Montenegro and we had other good games. So I think it was a good tournament but now we have to work to be better and better.”

Luc Steins (NED) – centre back

On the match:

“This match was a big roller coaster, like a little bit the whole EHF EURO 2022. We did not start well but after that we had the lead. Then Croatia came back and took the lead and at the end everything was possible again, but it finished with a draw.”

On the tournament:

“I think we have to be satisfied because we passed to the main round with this team for the first time and we beat Hungary in a full arena in the first game of the tournament. We have to be happy with our performance and the results that we achieved. But you always want more and more. We had the chance to finish in a better position, but at the end we have to be satisfied with everything that we did.”

Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) - coach

On the tournament overall:

“It was a strange tournament. Tonight, we saw two wounded teams on the court, with new players. I want to congratulate the Netherlands, they made a big step forward in European handball in the last few years. Handball needs new teams and national teams like the Netherlands. They played one of the best handball in the tournament, at least before they had all these problems.

“Of my guys, I am really proud. We lost almost half of the team during the tournament, but we fought all the way until the end and I am very happy about the final eighth place.”

Marin Sipic (CRO) – line player

On the game:

“Both teams fought really well tonight. We are a little bit sad because we wanted to leave the tournament with a win. It was a strange tournament, with a lot of Covid cases. There was also a good side to it. We got some new young players who showed they have the level and we can count on them in the next tournaments.”

Zvonimir Srna (CRO) - left back

On the match:

“The Netherlands is quite new among the top teams, we knew that they played pretty well. We prepared, but they scored too many fast and easy goals which was the key element for the draw.”

On the EHF EURO 2022:

“There were many substitutions in our roster during the tournament due to the pandemic. It was not easy to handle it, but we considered it as an experience. Now I return to Zagreb, have a rest for a couple of days and prepare for the national championship.”

 

Denmark vs France 29:30

Budapest, 26 January – Quotes from France coach Erick Mathe (FRA), right back Dika Mem (FRA), centre back Nikola Karabatic (FRA), goalkeeper Vincent Gerard (FRA) and left wing Hugo Descat (FRA), and Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), centre back Jacob Holm (DEN) and goalkeeper Kevin Møller (DEN) after France beat Denmark 30:29 in main round group I in Budapest on Wednesday.

Erick Mathe (FRA) - coach

On the game:

“It was very tough game. We started very badly. Defensively, we were not at the level we wanted to be. We carried this gap all through the game, but our motivation to pursue our adventure was high. The energy was on our side in the last minutes because we wanted to go in the semi-finals. It was a very tough game against Denmark, an amazing side, but I’m proud of my team tonight.”

Dika Mem (FRA) - right back

On the victory:

“It is an important win for us. We did not play good until the last 10 minutes. Denmark played amazingly and we kept trusting ourselves until the end. I didn’t stop believing in myself. I know I have this kind of game in me. Even though I had a bad first half and I wanted to show something else. But the most important thing is that we are in the semi-final.”

Nikola Karabatic (FRA) - centre back

On their performance:

“We kept on having confidence in what we do. In the first half everything went wrong, but we did not play that bad. Denmark just scored every shot they had. Their goalkeeper [Kevin Møller] played unbelievably well. Then we just kept on fighting and doing our thing and we knew that eventually we would have more luck.

“We were also aware that we would be able to come back and we believed in our chances. I think mentally we were strong in the second half. I stole the ball twice in the end. I lost the first one immediately, but I did not take the risk to give it away for the second time as it was a very important ball to win the match.”

Vincent Gerard (FRA) – goalkeeper

On the match:

“It was complicated. We knew that Mikkel Hansen and Mathias Gidsel were out of the roster, but we met other players like Niclas [Kirkeløkke] or Jacob [Holm] on the court, who were on the same level, so it was very difficult to play against them.

“We never gave up, kept fighting until the end and the coins turned on the right side – as we say it in France.”

On playing against Denmark:

“It is always interesting for me to play against Denmark because I have Danish teammates in PSG. I spoke with Henrik [Toft Hansen] at the beginning of the tournament, as our children are playing in the same club in Paris. It is funny, sometimes we are sitting on the bench next to each other, sometimes we are opponents, but we got used to it.”

Hugo DESCAT (FRA) - left wing

On the win:

“We fought all game to come back. We are very proud, because finally we could achieve what we wanted.”

On the atmosphere:

“All the spectators were making a big noise, the leading team always has the louder fans. Today I felt that there were more Danish people on the stands.”

On scoring seven out of eight penalty shots:

 The seven-metre penalties are very important, particularly in a close clash like this. It is not a joke, it is just the goalkeeper and me, but I have to score for the team. I hate to lose.”

On what is next:

“For the moment it is better to enjoy the win a little bit, after such a big fight, then we have one day to prepare for the semi-final.”

Nikolaj Jakobsen (DEN) - coach

On their performance:

“We are very disappointed right now. We played a very good match until minute 48. A lot of good players playing very good, Jacob Holm was amazing, our defence was also good. But in the end, we missed some good opportunities, Vincent Gerard made some important saves. Our players were too far away from each other in defence and we didn’t manage to stop Dika Mem. We made too many mistakes to win that game.”

Jacob Holm (DEN) - centre back

On the match:

“We played very well for 50 minutes but we were not able to maintain that performance and we made stupid mistakes at the end letting France come back and win the game. After this loss I could not even think about my individual performance positively.”

On the final weekend:

“We are ahead of the final weekend which is always the toughest part of the EURO. Now we need to forget this match and concentrate on our semi-final against Spain.”

Kevin Møller (DEN) – goalkeeper

On the defeat:

“It is never an easy game against France. We had several close matches in the last few years. We played well in the first half, while they played better in the second. As good as we were in the defence in the first period France was equally good in attack during the second. They scored too many easy goals and that destroyed us today.”

On the arena in Budapest:

“I love the spectators and also the atmosphere here in Budapest. I am going to enjoy the next two games, no matter what happens.”

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