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Flash quotes: press conferences 27 January

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Flash quotes from the press conferences held on Thursday 27 January ahead of the Men's EHF EURO 2022 semi-finals.

Spain vs Denmark
France vs Sweden

Spain vs Denmark

Budapest , 27 January – Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP) and line player Gedeon Guardiola (ESP), and Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), left back Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN), at a press conference in Budapest on Thursday, ahead of the EHF EURO 2022 semi-finals on Friday.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On Denmark having beaten Spain in the semi-finals of the World Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games last year:

“Denmark like to play against us. It will be a difficult match. It is obvious that the matches in Egypt and Tokyo were under different circumstances. We started well in the preliminary round, but unfortunately, we faced some problems in the main round with Covid cases and injuries. But we could recover and recharged our energy. Denmark are a great team, we need a perfect performance in defence and attack to win on Friday.”

On having Spanish fans in the arena:

“I just had a first impression of the hall, it is very beautiful and impressive. We expect more Danish fans than Spanish fans, but we hope for some Spanish support.”

Gedeon Guardiola (ESP) - line player

On the chance to become treble EHF EURO champion:

“We won the last two finals. This time we have a new team, with new players and a new system. Against a great Danish team, we have to see what is possible tomorrow. We had some difficulties on the path to the semi-finals, but now we are here. We have some experienced players, who give a helping hand to the younger players, so we see what we can manage.”

On the fact that Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) was his coach at club level:

“He was my coach and I still have a good relation to him. But when we are on the field, we are rivals and everybody wants to win. It doesn’t change anything we still will be friends, but the match is the match.”

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) – coach

On their goals for the tournament:

“I hope that we can win this medal. It was our main goal to make it the semi-finals and the final weekend, which we have reached. But to win a medal, this is what we are here for, as always we want to go all the way now. No doubt about that. But three other teams in the semi-final have the same objectives.”

On the fans in the arena:

“All teams want to play with spectators, as they cause a different atmosphere. We hope a lot of Danish will be there, but we understand the difficult situation to travel. We always have a good support and hope for many fans to come.”

On who they would have preferred to play in the semi-final:

“We want to win every match, we gave everything against France, and we would have deserved  to win. Spain and Sweden are two different styles of handball. Spain have a mix of experience and young players, who made them play faster, they have a good defence and the two best goalkeepers in the world. No difference between Spain and Sweden. The main point was to get to the semi-finals. Once you are there, you get what you get, and little things will decide.”

On having coached Gedeon Guardiola (ESP) at Rhein-Neckar Löwen:

“I like him and his family a lot, we have a good relationship also after I stopped coaching Löwen. Gedeon knows too much, but one thing I did not teach him: Danish language. So he will not understand everything tomorrow, when we talk about our system and the tactics.”

Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) – left back

On the advantage of saving power in the last main round match against France:

“Perhaps it is an advantage, but not as we rested some players, but to give more playing time and experience for other players. For the rest of the tournament, we will need those players, like for the difficult game against Spain tomorrow. We have allocated our resources very good.”

 

France vs Sweden

Budapest , 27 January – Quotes from France assistant coach Erick Mathe (FRA) and left back Karl Konan (FRA), and Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR) and line player Max Darj (SWE), at a press conference in Budapest on Thursday, ahead of the EHF EURO 2022 semi-finals on Friday.

Erick Mathe (FRA) – assistant coach

On the defeat in the World Championship semi-final last year against Sweden:

“We hope for a better result than last year. It was a hard game for us dominated by the Swedish team, Sweden were better than us in all departments, defence, attack, goalkeeping. This defeat was a real bad souvenir we got there.”

On their late comeback in the last five minutes of the last main round match against Denmark:

“Maybe we should only play the last minutes against Sweden. Those were miracles for both teams, France and Sweden, and I am sure this team spirit will be the key of the next game.”

On the potential return of centre back Kentin Mahe and coach Guillaume Gille for the final weekend:

“We hope they return to the team, we have to wait for their results.”

Karl Konan (FRA) – left back

On the changes in the French team since the Olympic Games:

“It is difficult to make a new team of old players, who have won everything, and us young players. We are all well-integrated and we have the same culture in the team to win and to fight. We want to take the change that we are the successor of the successful old French team.”

Glenn Solberg (SWE) – coach

On the fact that Sweden beat France in the semi-final of the World Championship 2021:

“We hope to get the same result of course, but we expect a difficult game. France have a great physical team with experience and skills. We have to come up on the high level of compact and aggressive defence, we had shown in the previous matches and continue like this to have a chance against France on Friday.”

On their late comeback to win the last main round match against Norway:

“We showed a lot of morale and team spirit, this means a lot to bring those things to the semi-final. Team spirit is our biggest strength, and we fight for each other for 60 minutes not only 55 minutes.”

Max Darj (SWE) – line player

On making it to his second EHF EURO semi-final, after 2018, in his third EHF EURO participation:

“It is different compared to 2018, as we have a new coach, new players and a new team. But still, we count on our old strengths such as a strong defence and counter-attacks, there is not such difference on the tactics, but only on the players.”

On his dream to win the first Swedish gold medal since 2002:

“Twenty years ago, I was looking at my idols, something started to grow in me then, that one day I could be part of those games. Now this dream come true for me and my team to be here, but we focus on one game at the time. Then we see if it will be an anniversary or not, but I am sure we will see a great game in any case.”

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