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Flash quotes: match day 9

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Post-match statements on the ninth day of the Men's EHF EURO 2022.

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Netherlands
France vs Iceland
Denmark vs Croatia

GROUP I

Montenegro vs Netherlands 30:34

Budapest, 22 January — Quotes from Netherlands assistant coach Edwin Kippers (NED), centre back Luc Steins (NED) and goalkeeper Thijs Van Leeuwen (NED), and Montenegro coach Zoran Roganovic (MNE), left wing Milos Vujovic (MNE) and right back Branko Vujovic (MNE) after the Netherlands beat Montenegro 34:30 in main round group I at the Budapest Handball Arena on Saturday.

Edwin Kippers (NED) — assistant coach

On the match:

“It was of course a little bit strange because I only knew early this morning that I had to be head coach today, but I think we did with the guys very good preparation. At the end of the day, it was actually an easy job for me, because I know with the experience of the guys that we could do a lot and we managed also to do a lot. So I was very happy, although it was a little bit of a rollercoaster today.”

Luc Steins (NED) — centre back

On their opponents, Montenegro:

“You’re playing a really good tournament — a really great tournament from the beginning.”

On the match:

“We knew it would be a hard game today. With all the difficulties we had, we didn’t have anything to lose and I think we managed the right timing to change our mindset to the game instead of Covid.

“Of course, we had some problems also in the goal, but today we had a really special guest in the goal [Thijs Van Leeuwen] and he really made some great saves and he gave us the win today.

“We just have to continue like this and we will see what we can do in the other games.”

Thijs van Leeuwen (NED) – goalkeeper

On his rushed arrival to Budapest:

"It has been a hell of a 24 hours for me as this time yesterday morning I was at my workplace, not knowing what was ahead. Then the coach called me, and I had to arrange and drop everything to get here and follow my dream."

On the victory:

"I did not even train with the team as I only met them this morning. But this is an amazing group. It is easy to integrate. We won again as underdogs. I think it is due to our mentality, speed, togetherness. The only thing we are behind the other sides is a bit of physical strength."

Zoran Roganovic (MNE) — coach

On the match:

“We lost the initiative after the first quarter. We didn’t manage their pace, their speed, even if we knew this was their best weapon. We knew that they are runners. That they will run the whole game, and unfortunately we couldn’t stop that, even if lots of our tactics were about this — that we were going to run.

“We lost the initiative and lost both parts of the games. The Netherlands is a very good team — they showed that from the beginning of this tournament. I would like to congratulate them and wish them all the best in the future.”

Milos Vujovic (MNE) — left wing

On the match:

“The difference was we started really good, the first 20 minutes. We showed everyone that we can play with everyone but after that I think my team started to be tired. The Netherlands started to play faster and faster and we couldn’t find a good way to stop it. The middle back and the wings were really successful and they scored a lot of goals.”

On the rest of the tournament:

“We have to continue to play like we did until now and to still continue dreaming about good matches in the future. I can say that we are on a good way and that I am so proud of my team. We will continue to play in a good way.”

Branko Vujovic (MNE) – right back

"The Netherlands played well in attack as well as at the whole EHF EURO 2022. Luc Steins was great at one against one situations, he always scored a goal or gave an assist. They have really fast players and they are quite good in counter-attacks. Thus, they could score a lot of easy goals and that was the key to their victory."

France vs Iceland 21:29

Budapest, 20 January – Quotes from Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL) and Viggo Kristjánsson (ISL), and France coach Erick Mathe (FRA), right back Valentin Porte (FRA) and right back Dika Mem (FRA) after Iceland beat France 29:21 in main round group I in Budapest on Saturday.

Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL) - coach

On the game:

“The last days have been really tough for us, we missed a lot of players tonight but we played absolutely great, especially in the first half. There was a lot of intensity in our defence, we managed to score in attack as well. I don’t know what the future will bring for us but, tonight I am really really happy about what we did.”

Viggo Kristjánsson (ISL) - right back

On the game:

“We knew that different players from the usual ones had to step up, and this is exactly what we did. Our first half was really, really good, against one of the best teams in the world. And when you’re up by seven at the break, things are much easier. I’m really proud of the win, but also because it means we can still make it to the semi-finals.”

Erick Mathe (FRA) – coach

On the game:

“We missed just about everything that made us win our previous games. Especially intensity on defence, Iceland did what they wanted, and we were not fighting enough. Now, we’ll have to look up again and get ready for the next game against Montenegro.”

Valentin Porte (FRA) - right back

On the game:

“Covid is not an excuse tonight, Iceland were just better than us. They played really well, outplayed us on both sides of the court. There is nothing to explain, we just missed out game and did not play well enough. Hopefully, we can fix some things tomorrow to get going again in two days.”

Dika MEM (FRA) - right back

On the defeat:

“It was a very tough match. We did not play well. We made a lot of mistakes in attack. They had a massive defence and their goalkeeper [Viktor Hallgrímsson] was in top form. They made a lot of turnovers and after that they controlled the match until the end.”

 

Denmark vs Croatia 27:25

Budapest, 22 January – Quotes from Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), left back Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) and right back Mathias Gidsel (DEN), and Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat (CRO), line player Marino Maric (CRO) and goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic (CRO) after Denmark beat Croatia 27:25 in main round group I in Budapest on Saturday.

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) - coach

On the game:

“It was a very hard game. Both teams played a very good match. We started very well but after 20 minutes, they changed their defence and they got many stops. We couldn’t play the way we wanted. But we played seven against six, it made us more patient, calmer.

“Our defence did not manage to play that well. Niklas Landin made two really important saves in the end, that’s why sometimes goalkeepers do saves at the right time. He might not have done that many tonight, but they were just when the team needed them. Croatia played some great handball and showed a nice spirit tonight.”

Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) - left back

On the game:

“I was pretty sure that it would be difficult to play against Croatia, is always difficult against them. We fought well, we showed we have a big heart, there was a fantastic atmosphere in the arena. In the second half we had a lot of problems with [Marino] Maric and [Luka] Cindric. I think our effectiveness in seven against six was the key.”

Mathias Gidsel (DEN) - right back

On the match:

“We fought a great Croatian team and this win meant more than two points. They were very aggressive in defence, especially in the first half. Therefore we had to change to seven-against-six to succeed. That was a real life-saver. This system is something we have trained a lot, and we have left it for these kind of games.”

On the rest of the main round:

“The group is open again, now that Iceland beat France, so we have to stay focused. Next up is the game against the Netherlands. They are the opposite of the Croatians, less physical, but very quick. We have to prepare well.”

Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) - coach

On the game:

“You can never be happy when you lose but you can be proud to lose in these circumstances. Yesterday we managed, for the first time in a long time, not lose one player because of Covid. So that meant we were able to train with the same players two days in a row. That was a first in the competition.

“With all these changes, it is hard to play your best handball, but we showed we have a big Croatian heart. Today we lose because of the seven-against-six. I am happy, in a way. I like to play it but it is hard to defend against it. When we have to lose, I’m glad we do it that way.”

Marino Maric (CRO) – line player

On the game:

“For me, it was a really hard match, with a lot of passion and emotion. Denmark played their seven-against-six perfectly and I think that was the key. We tried everything but it was not enough today.”

Mirko Alilovic (CRO) – goalkeeper

On the match:

“We had our chances in the first half. We managed to make a draw and then we had the opportunity to take the lead, but we missed everything, even a seven-metre penalty. In the second half Denmark played really amazing seven-against-six. They showed why they are one of the best national teams in the world in the last three or four years.”

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