Spain aiming to build on success from 2019 worlds
Spain arrive at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 full of confidence.
While the 2008 and 2014 silver medallists finished only 12th in France two years ago, they made it all the way to the final of the World Championship in Japan the following year.
Playing Russia, Sweden and Czech Republic in what looks like a very open group B, Spain have high ambitions.
Is 2020 going to be Spain’s year?
Spain have a decent track record at major championships, with two EHF EURO, two World Championship and one Olympic medal.
Only a gold one is still missing.
Spain reached the final of last year’s World Championship but were beaten to the title by Netherlands following a last-second winner of Lois Abbingh (30:29).
A year later, Spain are striving for their third piece of silverware at an EHF EURO, after coming runner-up to Norway twice, in 2008 and 2014.
A good result at EHF EURO 2020 will further boost interest in Spain when the country will host the World Championship next year.
How will Spain deal with Alexandrina Barbosa’s absence?
At the helm since 2017, coach Carlos Viver has brought a fresh air to the national team, bringing new promising players to the top level.
Still, the experienced players are still the key to success, like Alexandrina Barbosa, who scored 60 goals for Spain, including seven in the final, in their run to silver at last year’s worlds.
But the CSM Bucuresti back is out for the tournament with a knee injury.
Lara Gonzalez is expected to add a few goals to the scoring sheet, but other key players, like Nerea Pena or Alicia Fernandez, will have to step up even more to make up for Barbosa’s absence.
Under the spotlight: Silvia Navarro
At 41, Silvia Navarro is the oldest goalkeeper at EHF EURO 2020.
But her experience has been so important to the team that Carlos Viver never thought about leaving her out of the squad.
Navarro proved her decisive qualities once again at last year’s World Championship, and there is no reason why she shouldn’t deliver again in December.
How they rate themselves
With their home World Championship next year already in sight, Spain are looking forward to an exciting year, starting at the EHF EURO 2020.
Also, they have the Olympic Qualification Tournament coming up in March.
“It has been a strange year for everyone, as no national team was able to work from the World Championship until September. No one really knows where they stand,” says coach Carlos Viver, who aims for at least a semi-final ticket.
Did you know?
At least five of the Spanish players who won silver at EHF EURO 2014 should be aiming for gold in December: Marta Lopez, Carmen Martin, Nerea Pena, Lara Gonzalez and Silvia Navarro have been with the team all those years, providing Spain with much-needed experience for EHF EURO 2020.
What the numbers say
Five. That is the number of players in the initial Spain squad playing for a Romanian club team: three for SCM Ramnicu Valcea, two for CSM Bucuresti, though CSM’s Barbosa has meanwhile been ruled out with an injury.
EHF EURO participations (including 2020): 11
Runners-up (2): 2008, 2014
Runners-up (1): 2019