More test matches as hunger for handball increases
Denmark and Norway, who were set to co-host EHF EURO 2020, will play two test matches prior to the start of the tournament, which is now taking place completely on Danish ground.
Also, in our second news update eight days before throw-off, we focus on the teams of France, Spain, Germany and Croatia.
No Golden League, but two tests for Denmark
After the announcement that Norway were no longer able to stage the EHF EURO 2020, it was also immediately clear that the Golden League, scheduled for the Bergen region in Norway, could not take place.
EHF EURO 2018 champions France, Norway, Denmark and Germany were supposed to play this preparation event from Thursday until Sunday (26-29 November).
However, Norway and Denmark agreed to play two test matches against each other, tonight (Wednesday) and tomorrow, in Vejle, Denmark.
The cancellation of the Golden League means that France and Germany most likely will not have additional test matches, although France coach Olivier Krumbholz said: “Maybe we find the opportunity to have a test match in Denmark.”
France hit by Lassource’s injury at start of preparation
Right in the first training session of the French team, back court player Déborah Lassource (Paris 92) tore her Achilles tendon, ruling her out for six months. She has been replaced by Claire Vautier from Dijon.
Also, Metz left-hander Marie-Hélène Sajka has been called up by head coach Olivier Krumbholz to replace Oceane Sercien-Ugolin, who is in quarantine following a Covid-19 positive test at her club team, RK Krim Mercator in Slovenia.
And France were already missing former World Player of the Year Allison Pineau, who will miss the tournament due to a broken nose.
Spain change their preparation plans
Not just the Golden League, but also a four-team preparation tournament in Spain had to be called off. The event in Torrelavega, an important step in the preparations of the World Championship 2019 runners-up, was meant to feature Austria, Brazil and Poland, but travel restrictions made it impossible.
However, the team of head coach Carlos Viver still have two test matches coming up, against Slovakia, on Friday and Sunday.
German coaches in isolation until Thursday
Germany’s head coach Henk Groener and his assistant Alexander Koke are currently in self-isolation, but were expected to join the team on Thursday. Groener tested positive for Covid-19 and is in the final stadium of isolation, while Koke had a case in his close environment.
Meanwhile, Andre Fuhr has taken over for the time being. Fuhr is the coach of the national under-20 team as well as EHF Champions League contenders BV Borussia 09 Dortmund. He is leading the team during their preparations in Frankfurt, in close cooperation with Groener and Koke.
Germany are set to travel to Kolding on Tuesday (1 December).
Croatian captain hungry for handball
Like some other teams, Croatia have been it by several Covid-19 cases, involving EHF Champions League participants Podravka Vegeta. But the team of head coach Nenad Sostaric is looking forward to continue their tournament preparations.
“I am hungry for handball, I believe we all are. And we cannot wait for the EHF EURO to start and to get it going,” said Katarina Ježić, team captain of Croatia.
Two players joined the team camp in Porec late, Ana Debelić and Ćamila Mićijević, not because of the pandemic, but because of transport issues.