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Flash quotes: match day 7

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

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Croatia
France vs Netherlands
Denmark vs Iceland

GROUP II

Russia vs Sweden
Germany vs Spain
Poland vs Norway

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Croatia 32:26

Budapest, 20 January – Quotes from Montenegro coach Zoran Roganovic (MNE), right wing Marko Lasica (MNE) and goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic (CRO), and Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat (CRO), right back Ivan Martinovic (CRO) and right wing Ivan Cupic (CRO) after Montenegro beat Croatia 32:26 in main round group I in Budapest on Thursday.

Zoran Roganovic (MNE) – coach

On the match:

“I am so proud again with our game and our players. We did an excellent game today, it was really something that we want to keep going. I hope that, in the future, we can keep that pace. I am looking forward for the next games and, hopefully, more wins.”

Marko Lasica (MNE) - right wing

On the match:

“It was a really good game for us. We knew Croatia had had Covid in the last few days. We knew it was our chance to play well, maybe even win and we managed to do it.”

Nebojsa Simic (MNE) – goalkeeper

On their performance:

“This match was amazing. We dream big and we play an interesting handball with so much energy. We started to celebrate already on court, giving each other strength and even more energy by screaming after all little success.

“We are not favourites against anybody, but we do not respect any opponent, we just go forward. It just shocked me that the difference between Croatia and us was so big, we never let them come closer than four goals. I hope I will never wake up from this dream.”

Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) - coach

On their opponents:

“Montenegro played a perfect game. Their defence was good, they had an amazing goalkeeper. We did not manage to play the defence we wanted and we were too nervous in attack. It was very hard against [Nebojsa] Simic. The second half, our attack was better but our defence was bad, they managed to find solutions all the time.”

Ivan Martinovic (CRO) – right back, Croatia

On their performance:

“Montenegro deserved their win. We started not as good as we hoped. We made too many offensive mistakes, and when we had the chances, [Nebojsa] Simic was there and took our self-confidence. We knew it would be tough to come back after the break. We tried our best, changed our defence, but Montenegro had a lot of discipline.”

Ivan Cupic (CRO) - right wing

On why they lost:

“We cannot say that we lost because of covid. We also had 16 players for today like Montenegro, but they were a better team, they dominated 90 per cent of the game. We tried to change the system, change the guys, we tried everything but it was not our day. Despite I scored seven times, I am not satisfied, because my performance is equal to my team’s performance. We have the next game in two days, we have to win that.”

 

France vs Netherlands 34:24

Budapest, 20 January – Quotes from France coach Guillaume Gille (FRA), centre back Aymeric Minne (FRA) and goalkeeper Vincent Gerard (FRA), and Netherlands coach Erlingur Richardsson (ISL), right back Kay Smits (NED) and goalkeeper Bart Ravensbergen (NED) after France beat the Netherlands 34:24 in main round group I in Budapest on Thursday.

Guillaume Gille (FRA) - coach

On the game:

“We are really happy with our game. The Netherlands are a really good team, they deserved to be here and we had to pull off a great performance to beat them. Defensively, we had a good day, and apart from 15 minutes, we were superior.”

Aymeric Minne (FRA) - centre back

On the win and his performance:

“Scoring eight goals in a EURO game is a real performance, I know that and I enjoyed every minute. I try to be there when the coach calls me, I do my best to help the team and I think that’s what I did tonight.”

Vincent Gerard (FRA) – goalkeeper

On their opponents:

“It was a complicated game because the Netherlands is a good team. They play really fast handball. We knew that we had more players on the bench than them and if we continued to run, they would get tired sooner than us. We started the match well, we had a five-goal lead, but the Netherlands could equal the match.

“It did not surprise us, because we watched all of their games and they also could come back to the match against Iceland. I also want to congratulate them because they played well from the beginning of the match. Moreover, they eliminated Hungary at home which is very difficult because Hungary has great fans.”

Erlingur Richardsson (ISL) - coach, Netherlands

On the game:

“France were clearly the best team tonight. I think my players were a little bit tired, and some of them have played a lot in the first phase of the tournament. We made the decision to rotate them at the end of the game so they could rest.”

Kay Smits (NED) - right back

On the game:

“I think we burnt a lot of energy trying to catch up with France in the first half, and they had more rotations after the break so they easily outran us. This is just the first game of the main round, we will have other chances to take some points, I’m sure.”

Bart Ravensbergen (NED) – goalkeeper

On why they lost:

“In the first half France had problems in defence and I had some good saves, so we managed to keep up with them, however after coming back from the break we had many mistakes and our opponent scored three times into the empty goal. From that point the difference started to increase between us, and France was as strong as we expected them and could not find the weapon against them.

“We were too tired after the previous three group matches where we played very fast and had difficult fights, the same players sent a lot of time on court. So, we let some other teammates to play today which meant a decrease in quality. The batteries were empty even if we had some time to relax and catch some air yesterday. We took a little walk in the city and visited the Parliament. This was the first rest day since we are in Budapest, it was so nice to be in the fresh air a little bit.”

 

Denmark vs Iceland 28:24

Budapest, 20 January — Quotes from Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), left wing Emil Jakobsen (DEN) and goalkeeper Kevin Møller (DEN), and Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL), left back Daniel Tor Ingason (ISL) and right back Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) after Denmark beat Iceland 32:26 in the main round 1 match in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Thursday

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) — coach

On whether he expected such a close game against Iceland:

“I don’t know what I expect any more at this tournament.

“What we knew was that Iceland would come with a tremendous fight, like they always do. They have an amazing spirit in this team and on the small island, which always makes them a difficult opponent for us.

“They lost six key players. For us it was a match where we had nothing to win and all to lose. And I think we saw that in some periods of the game. I think the key moments for us were in the first half. We had the opportunity to go ahead by more than three goals, but we missed some opportunities and made stupid mistakes and stupid two minutes. Also in the second half, we were away with four goals and had four minutes with one man extra [against].

“When we meet Iceland we always expect a difficult match and they did today. I’m very sorry for what happened. I wish Iceland all the best. I hope the players who are infected get a speedy recovery and stay in good health. I wish them all the best for the rest of the tournament.

“I would like to say that nobody wants to win like this. We all want to play with the best teams against each other. I think it was a very good match but I think it would have been maybe one of the best matches in this tournament so far because Iceland have played fantastic handball in the group stage.”

On the next game, against Croatia:

“It will be another difficult match because Croatia has a lot of infected players also. For us it’s difficult to prepare for the matches because we don’t know who is going to play. But it’s a big handball country with a lot of good players, so we expect a tough match like today, as it should be in the main round.”

Emil Jakobsen (DEN) — left wing

On their first game in the arena:

“That was a great arena. Very beautiful.

It was a difficult match for us today, but big respect for Iceland to go into this game with all they had, bad news before the game.

“It’s always difficult to play against Iceland and we are very happy to get this win today.”

Kevin Møller (DEN) – goalkeeper

On their performance

“We showed that we are a great team where everybody stands for each other and helps each other. I am glad I could contribute to the team’s success with my saves because we struggled and it was a hard game for us, we played with passion and heart therefore we could win the match. We had two rest days and we could recover and relax a little bit which was necessary because the upcoming games will be very difficult, and we cannot make any mistakes if we want to go through. We will not have any easy opponents from now on.”

Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL) — coach

On the run-up to the match:

“You see this was a rollercoaster for us because yesterday we were very happy preparing for this match and then we got the message that five players were infected suddenly, and then we had one more today, so six players in a short time. It was a big shock for us and not easy to cope with because we were of course qualified for the main round with two points and played very well. And we had a good feeling and this time I’m sure we would have all the possibilities in the world.”

On the match:

“I think my players did well. I think they played very well in attack in the first half. Denmark were of course very strong also in attack. We played better defence in the second half. You can see they scored 11 goals second half and we only 10 — that’s the difference. But there was a huge difference between the teams.

“The goalkeeper of Denmark [Kevin Møller] had I think 16 saves and we had only five. It’s a big difference in such a game. In the end, I have to give my players a big compliment for their fight and how they did it. It was not easy for us. Only 14 players and we had maybe inexperienced players on the field in some cases. I wish Denmark all the best for the tournament and I hope we will not get more corona now in the next coming days. We are very worried about that.”

On the next match, versus France:

“We are going to play against France tomorrow and I think I want to wait to talk about this match before we know tomorrow how the situation is with the team. We have our third corona test today after the game and I’m just going to wait to speak about the game against France until I know the situation.”

On the importance of the team for the country:

“It is an unbelievably popular sport in Iceland. We say sometimes we are a handball nation and people take handball very seriously. They are very passionate about it and have been for many years and that is very good for us. We of course want to perform for our spectators and for our country all the time, because there is a huge interest in handball in Iceland. We have maybe up to 65 per cent of the nation looking at the games. That is a good feeling for us.”

Daniel Tor Ingason (ISL) — left back

On their performance:

“I think we played a very good game overall. Of course, we needed some saves to have chances, to get fewer goals, but we played good defence. Of course, we made some difficult decisions in offence, attack, but overall, a great game between the two teams.”

Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) - right back

On the match:

“I think the team effort was very good for 60 minutes and we tried to win the game. We played a good match, but made a few mistakes and came a little bit short today. From now on we have to focus only on the next game, that is the only way to be successful. Denmark is a great team, I think they can win the EURO.”

GROUP II

Russia vs Sweden 23:29

Bratislava, 20 January – Quotes from Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR), left back Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) and right wing Valter Chrintz (SWE) and Russia coach Velimir Petkovic (GER) and line player Alexandr Ermakov (RUS) after Sweden beat Russia 29:23 in main round group II in Bratislava.

Glenn Solberg (NOR) – coach, Sweden

On the victory:

“We are happy with the two points. We played fantastic in defence like we did in all previous matches, as we continued playing very compact. We played more collective in attack, so I am happy with the win.”

On what is possible in the main round:

“We are back in the game now, everything is possible, but we play against extremely good teams. Hopefully we can continue winning, but it will be very, very difficult.”

On their next opponents, Poland:

“This is a new Polish team, a great team, which plays extremely physical and tough. We played two test matches against them in November, but their squad is different and better now. Especially, we have to take care of their line player – we expect a really hard game.”

Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) – left back

On the match:

“We were doing well in defence and we did everything right the way we spoke before. The defence was pretty good and in attack, the ball was going more fluid as before.”

On their expectations for the main round:

“Today was one of our best games, but we still have to keep pushing. We hopefully go pretty far, but we are just thinking about the next game.”

Valter Chrintz (SWE) – right wing

On the match:

“We were ready, and we played better than against the Czechs, because we had much more speed in attack. As usual, our defence worked well. We could create many chances thanks to this higher speed, this was one key.”

On what is still possible for Sweden:

“Everything is possible, you saw in the preliminary round what can happen, but we know that we have really tough opponents ahead.”

Velimir Petkovic (GER) – coach, Russia

On the reason for the defeat:

“We missed two extremely important players, [Sergei Mark] Kosorotov and [Daniil] Shishkarev, they mean a lot for our match, and we have to pray that mainly Kosorotov will return soon. Therefore, it was a difficult game for us, in the next two matches we have to try our best to gain those points we lost today. Sweden were better than us and took a deserved win.”

On what needs to be changed in the upcoming matches:

“We cannot change that much, as we miss those two important players. We have some players in our current line-up, which had not been part of the preparation, this makes things harder. But you need to have high quality, so hopefully we can play with the regular line-up quite soon.”

Alexandr Ermakov (RUS) – line player

On the match:

“It was a very difficult match, which was not running according to our plan. We spent so much energy in the previous games and could not come back today. In the next matches we try again.”

 

Germany vs Spain 23:29

Bratislava, 20 January – Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP), line player Gedeon Guardiola (ESP), left back Antonio Garcia (ESP) and right wing Ferran Sole (ESP), and Germany coach Alfred Gislason (ISL), centre back Philipp Weber (GER) and left back Paul Drux (GER) after Spain beat Germany 29:23 in main round group II in Bratislava.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On the match:

“This was an important match for us, and the first half was complicated, as we lacked efficiency in attack. We know that we can do better. The second was on a half high level, mainly when we talk about defence and the goalkeeper performance. We managed to remain on a strong level until the end, even when we were five, six goals ahead.”

Gedeon Guardiola (ESP) – line player

On the match:

“I am very satisfied with the result and our performance. The defence was very well, we saw a fantastic day of our goalkeeper and very positive moments in attack.”

Antonio Garcia (ESP) – left back

On the victory:

“This was an unbelievable match from us, we saw how quick our new team is growing. We had hoped to grow with all those new players, but we did it much quicker than expected.”

On being the favourites for the semi-finals in this group:

“You can ask me after the match against Russia, we have four points now, this is absolutely great. But still, there are three matches ahead.”

On the crucial first 10 minutes after the break:

“Our coach Jordi Ribera gave us exact instructions what do to, he prepared us really well. We were in a real flow in that time, and when we were ahead, we remained calm, but still focused.”

On the keys to success:

“We do not have a superstar in our team, therefore it is all about the team, and we were in a real flow today. We always have to count on defence, goalkeeper and counter-attacks. We forced Germany to cause mistakes.”

Ferran Sole (ESP) – right wing

On the match:

“We knew about the importance [of the match] and we did our job very well. I think 90 per cent of this victory belongs to our defence and goalkeeper – this is our classical Spanish match play. It was important that we kept the heads up high and stayed focused when we were ahead. This was a great victory tonight.”

On their chances of proceeding to the semi-final:

“If we beat Russia, it looks really good, at the moment, we are in great form, but things can change quickly. We have to be aware and we should not talk about the semi-finals too much.”

Alfred Gislason (ISL) – coach

On the match:

“Spain were the better team and deserved to win. We tried what we could due to our current situation. For 25 minutes we played quite well, then we had more and more problems in attack with the excellent Spanish defence and their fantastic goalkeeper, as we were without a goal for 10 minutes, and were seven goals down. We made too many mistakes and did not shoot very well, and in general, Spain were better in defence and attack.”

Paul Drux (GER) – left back

On the defeat:

“Spain were better than us in the second half - we did not play well enough. But I am proud of the team. We did the best we could. The match turned around in the beginning of the second half, we have to be more aggressive in defence and shoot better in the next matches.”

On the next match against Norway:

“We do not have that much time to think about this match. We know the players quite well. To be successful, we need to shoot better from the distance.

Philipp Weber (GER) – centre back

On the reasons for the defeat:

“For 25 minutes, we played well, but then we caused too many turnovers and offered Spain too many chances to score. We lost our pace completely in the first 10, 15 minutes of the second half, which was crucial. If we want to beat Norway tomorrow, we have to reduce the number of mistakes.”

 

Poland vs Norway 42:31

Bratislava, 21 January – Quotes from Norway coach Christian Berge (NOR), centre back Christian O’Sullivan (NOR), right wing Kevin Gulliksen (NOR), right back Harald Reinkind (NOR), and line player Petter Overby (NOR), and Poland coach Patryk Rombel (POL), left back Piotr Chrapkowski (POL) and line player Kamil Syprzak (POL) after Norway beat Poland 42:31 in main round group II in Bratislava.

Christian Berge (NOR) – coach

On the keys for success:

“We played a fast game, and we ran as we wanted to run. It is easier for us to use our strengths by running than in one-again-one in attack. We wanted to run the whole game and we did that very well. We had talked a lot about improvements after the first stage, and today everything came out, it was much better than before.”

Christian O’Sullivan (NOR) – centre back

On the match:

“I am really happy, everything went according to our match plan for the first time at this tournament. We played with a hard and aggressive defence and scored a lot of counter-attack goals – this was the key for us.”

On the upcoming match against Germany:

“We want to play like we played today, as this is the way we like to play. We want to stick to this concept with aggressive defence, counter attacks and speed against Germany. We have less than 24 hours to prepare, but we feel good and we managed to save some power in the end of today’s match.”

Harald Reinkind (NOR) – right back

On their performance:

“Today’s match was a huge step ahead in terms of development. We are on the right track now, this is the way we want to play, with speed and easy goals.”

On the upcoming match against Germany:

“I expect a tougher game than today – and we do not know, who will be in Germany’s squad on Friday. We have to keep our defence close and have to run and run. If we are as strong in counter-attacks as today, we have a good chance.”

Kevin Gulliksen (NOR) – right wing

On the match:

“We played really fast, this was our best match so far. I hope we can continue like this against Germany. There are three matches ahead and we want to win all of them.”

Petter Overby (NOR) – line player

On Thursday’s match and the match on Friday:

“This was exactly the way we wanted to play, with our classical tactic – strong defence and counter-attacks. It was almost perfect. It will be tougher against Germany, especially as it is not clear, with which team they will play. We are not talking about the semi-finals now, but still we have no point to lose, if we want to go there.”

Patryk Rombel (POL) – coach

On the defeat:

“Norway played great and ran a lot. It is hard for us when you constantly have to change your line-up. We could not keep the rhythm, this is the reason for the big gap.”

Piotr Chrapkowski (POL) – left back

On the match:

“Norway had a really good defence and was really strong in counter attacks. We were too weak in running back and conceded too many easy goals. Our match was not good, Norway played on a high level.”

Kamil Syprzak (POL) – line player

On the defeat:

“We knew that Norway would play as they played, and I had hoped we would be prepared better. But still, we have three games to play and nothing is over for us.”

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