20220115 CRO Mixed Zone
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Flash quotes: match day 3

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

GROUP A

North Macedonia vs Montenegro
Slovenia vs Denmark

GROUP C

France vs Ukraine
Croatia vs Serbia

GROUP E

Czech Republic vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Spain vs Sweden

GROUP F

Slovakia vs Lithuania
Norway vs Russia

GROUP A

North Macedonia vs Montenegro 28:24

Debrecen 15 January - Quotes from Montenegro technical director Drasko Mrvaljevic (MNE) and goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic (MNE) and North Macedonia coach Kiril Lazarov (MKD) and goalkeeper Nikola Mitrevski (MKD) after Montenegro beat North Macedonia 28:24 in their preliminary round group A match in Debrecen.

Drasko Mrvaljevic (MNE) - technical director

On the win against North Macedonia:

“It was a very difficult match for us. We once again played without our coach Zoran Roganovic. I had to prepare the match two hours before the start. We showed good discipline and we were very good in the defence. I believe we made our country proud. We are a small country and this means a lot to us.”

On the next match against Slovenia:

“We still didn’t prepare for them. We go one day at the time. With all problems, we are just focused on our play. One thing that’s sure, it’s going to be difficult.”

Nebojsa Simic (MNE) - goalkeeper

On the win against North Macedonia:

“It was an amazing victory. From the worst experience in our life we got to the best experience of our life. I’m so proud when I see how we all fought tonight. These two points mean a lot to us. North Macedonia has a lot of potential and I believe it was hard for them when Kiril Lazarov got injured.”

On the next match against Slovenia:

“We will have a hard time in the next match against Slovenia. It was hard for us as our physiotherapist was positive [with Covid-19] and we didn’t had any help from that side until Saturday. We will prepare as best as we can to try something even though Slovenia are favourites.”

Kiril Lazarov (MKD) - coach

On the loss against Montenegro:

“I’m disappointed. I believed we could surprise Montenegro. They showed more experience in this match. We missed [Stojanche] Stoilov, and with other players we are missing it’s hard to play and win, especially a hard match like this. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have talented players but they still have to gain more experience.”

On the next match against Denmark:

“We play the last match of the EHF EURO against one of the best teams in the world. We need to enjoy it and gain as much experience as we can. This will be the chance for all young players to step on the court and play against such an amazing team. We need to start over. To rise up again, you have to fall. It’s the same with us. We have many talents but we need to work more and to work harder.”

Nikola Mitrevski (MKD) - goalkeeper

On the loss against Montenegro:

“They were more aggressive and motivated than us. There is not much more to say about this match. We have to learn our mistakes and get ready for the next match.”

 

Slovenia vs Denmark 34:23

Debrecen, 15 January - Quotes from Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), line player Magnus Saugstrup (DEN) and goalkeeper Niklas Landin (DEN), and Slovenia coach Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE), right wing Gasper Marguc (SLO) and left back Borut Mackovsek (SLO) after Denmark beat Slovenia 34:23 in their group A preliminary round match in Debrecen on Saturday.

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) - coach

On the win against Slovenia:

“We played very good today. In the first half we both played strong, in second half our defence was much better and Niklas Landin decided the match with his saves. He helped us a lot.”

On the next match against North Macedonia:

“We are happy as we are in the main round and we are taking two points with us. The match against North Macedonia will be a good opportunity for some different things in our squad. We are looking forward to playing against them.”

Magnus Saugstrup (DEN) - line player

On the win against Slovenia:

“We played good, we showed power during 60 minutes of play. I think we played much better than in the first match and now with full concentration we must go forward.”

Niklas Landin (DEN) – goalkeeper

On the match:

“The first half of the game was very balanced between the two teams; at the beginning we had some problems with the defence. Slovenia played well, [Borut] Mackovsek had a really good day and they were able to stay close to us for a long time.

“I think our defence improved a lot in the second half and I had some saves and that is why we could finally take the lead and win the match. The Danish fans gave us strength when we needed, it has been very boring to play in empty arenas for a long time. They made the atmosphere incredible for us.”

Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE) – coach, Slovena

On the loss against Denmark:

“We did a good first half and we played with a lot of energy. Everything was working for us. Denmark is one of the best teams in the world and in the second half they were better. With Niklas Landin between the posts just made harder for us.”

On the next match against Montenegro:

“That match will be really important for us. It’s going to be hard, that’s for sure. We need to prepare very good as we know what’s at stake in that match. One thing is sure, we are going for the win.”

Gasper Marguc (SLO) - right wing

On the loss against Denmark:

“If we look at half-time, it was very good match and we were very close. However, it’s hard to keep up with team like Denmark, we needed to fight for our chance. When Niklas Landin started to stop almost every ball, that was bad for our moral. There is no time to dwell. We have to focus on the match against Montenegro, which is very important for us.”

Borut Mackovsek (SLO) - left back

On the atmosphere:

“We have already played some matches in Debrecen with the national team and it’s always good to play here, because there are a lot of handball fanatics. It is not so close to Slovenia, but the atmosphere is fantastic. We tried to do our best today, but we had just a small chance to win, obviously Denmark was the better team. We’ll focus the next game against Montenegro, we have to hope.”

GROUP C

France vs Ukraine 36:23

Szeged, 15 January – Quotes from France coach Guillaume Gille (FRA) and left back Romain Lagarde (FRA), and Ukraine coach Michael Biegler (GER) and left back Ihor Turchenko (UKR) after France beat Ukraine (36:23) in Szeged on Saturday.

Guillaume Gille (FRA) - coach, France

On the importance of winning a second straight game:

"It was for us very important to take the points in the preliminary round. We expected a good game from our side to share playing time to all players. It was very satisfying to see that every player brought something positive in this game."

Romain Lagarde (FRA) - left back, France

On playing a favourite before the game:

"We knew that Ukraine did not play well against Serbia. We needed also to play better than we did on Thursday because we wanted to prepare the game against Serbia on Monday. We wanted to show we are ready to play against Serbia."

Thibaud Briet (FRA) - left back, France

On his first appearance at an EHF EURO:

"It was my first time in an international competition and I wanted to play my game without feeling the pressure. I have waited five years for this opportunity, and it is a pleasure I was able to do well. The next game against Serbia is going to be tough as they have a lot of fans at the arena, and it is almost like they are playing at home. We have a revenge to take for the defeat in the qualifiers.”

Michael Biegler (UKR) – coach, Ukraine

On what Ukraine missed to win the game:

"It was a big honour to play against France. I wanted my guys to have fun in the game. Fora long time, we did not look so bad. We must find better solutions against their defence, we made too many mistakes, but overall this looks like a pretty good performance from us. My team needs time and games, I repeat that again."

Ihor Turchenko (UKR) - left back, Ukraine

On being the underdog in the group:

"We are a young team, we learn with every game. France played an aggressive defence and it was hard for us. I’m sure we will improve in the future and that we will show a better performance in the next game against Croatia."

Dmytro Horiha (UKR) – left back

On the match:

“Today it was a very good atmosphere with a lot of people not only from Ukraine, but from Serbia and Croatia to support our team. It was a lot of pleasure to play in this atmosphere. It was a decision of the federation to plan for the future. We think in one or two years it will be much better.”

Kasai Oleksandr (UKR) – left wing

On the match:

“It was a good game, and to play before such supporters was amazing. It was just crazy, that the Croatian supporters cheered for us, it gives you so much power you know. Yesterday, I celebrated my 25th birthday with some training. I did also last year, but I do not mind. We must focus on the fact, that still one match has left from the tournament for us. And who knows, we might have a chance to beat Croatia on Monday.”

 

Croatia vs Serbia 23:20

Szeged, 15 January – Quotes from Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat (CRO), goalkeeper Mate Sunjic (CRO) and line player Zeljko Musa (CRO), and Serbia coach Antonio Gerona (ESP), goalkeeper Vladimir Cupara (SRB), centre back Lazar Kukic (SRB) and right wing Bogdan Radivojevic (SRB) after Croatia beat Serbia (23:20) in their group C preliminary round match in Szeged on Saturday.

Hrvoje Horvat (CRO) - coach

On what he said to his players before the game:

“We came here and we wanted a perfect defence to stay in the tournament. In these two games, you can see our progression. Today, we knew that the team better in defence would take the points. We knew it could be a game with loads of goals, so we really focused on defence.”

Mate Sunjic (CRO) - goalkeeper

On their performance:

“Serbia could back in one moment, but we managed to find a force to finish good first half with the two goals. The half time was good for the morale.”

On the atmosphere in the arena:

“It affected the team performance, we almost felt like at home as the arena was full. It pushed us a little bit in the second half when we struggled physically. Such an atmosphere is a dream when you are a professional player.”

On the fans:

“It is always a story between Croatian public and Croatian players because there are a lot of people from Croatia today here in the hall. For sure it was a team explosion in the second half, special because we were leading with a few scores and with this public we can’t lose this game.”

Zeljko Musa (CRO) – line player

On the fans and the game:

“That was the greatest support that I’ve heard here. We played a good game in defence, but some mistakes in the attack. We had no fear, we always want to win. That was a game ‘go home or stay’ for us. We should stay positive and focused till the end of the last game against Ukraine.”

Antonio Gerona (ESP) – coach

On what Serbia lacked to win the game:

“The biggest problem that we had was at the end of the first half, when we took a 0:3. In the second half, we fought but sometimes it was tough, their goalkeeper made saves, we lost some balls and Croatia had the best defence. This game shows what kind of work we still have to do. We played good, but this was not enough.”

Vladimir Cupara (SRB) - goalkeeper

On the forthcoming game against France on Monday:

“The fans gave us power but it was not enough. Against France, everything will be in our hands. If we want to go to the main round, we have to win. We will give everything so we can progress in the competition.”

Lazar Kukic (SRB) - centre back

On their emotions:

“It was a very emotional game. The toughest match we have ever played. It was amazing to see so many people from our country: fans, friends, family. We enjoyed it, but unfortunately we lost. We are totally disappointed with the result, but there is no time to be sad.”

On their next match, against France:

“We have to prepare against France. They have a strong team, but we have already shown in the qualifiers that we can beat them.”

Bogdan Radivojevic (SRB) - right wing

On their emotions:

“It is hard to find the words. We are sad, we will not sleep tonight, and that is for sure. It was more than just a handball game, it was more than that. Obviously, we did not play how we wanted and this result is the cost of that. We need to win against France and I am sure that in the locker room we will speak a lot about how to do it on Monday. We will never give up, to be Serbian is the proudest thing in the world for me. We will keep fighting for Serbia.”

GROUP E

Czech Republic vs Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bratislava, 15 January – Quotes from Czech Republic coach Rastislav Trtik (CZE) and left back Dominik Solak (CZE), and Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Ivica Obrvan (CRO) and centre back Josip Peric (BIH) after the Czech Republic beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 27:19 in their preliminary round group D match at the Ondrej Nepela Aréna in Bratislava.

Rastislav Trtik (CZE) – coach

On the victory:

“It was great that we won this important match. Two days ago we were unlucky against Spain, but we prepared well and we tried to keep our speed and power high. Besides, we again had a great support from the spectators, they were like an eighth player on the field.”

On the keys for the success:

“There was a big difference compared to the match Spain as we could change some players and they could play on their regular positions, like our top scorer Matej Klima, Dominik Solak was our key player in defence and also showed a great cooperation with our goalkeeper Tomas Mrkva. We hope that all fans come back on Monday to support us like this against Sweden.”

Dominik Solak (CZE) - left back

On the match:

“Thanks to the fans, they were great, we felt the support from the beginning until the end. We had a good start, fulfilled the tactical tasks to run as many fastbreaks as possible, but it was difficult to keep this speed in attack high. After the break, we wanted to continue with the speed but also with patience. We increased the score thanks to a great defence, and out key players were Tomas Mrkva and Matej Klima. We are happy that we won - now we have to beat Sweden, if we want to proceed.”

Ivica Obrvan (CRO) – coach

On the defeat:

“It was a very good game by the Czechs, but the final difference was too high after we were down by only two goals 15 minutes before the end. In regards of all problems we have, the Czech team deserved to win.”

Josip Peric (BIH) - centre back

On the match:

“The Czechs were very well prepared and deserved to win. We are dealing with big problems in our team, like we did not have a single left hander in our team today. This was the reason, why we played so slow and that was the problem of our match play. I also have to say thanks to our fans, it is amazing how they support us. We could play in New Zealand and they still will come.”

On the match against Spain on Monday:

“The hardest game is still ahead for us, we want to give all the power we have left to finish and enjoy this tournament, for which we fought so hard to be part of.”

 

Spain vs Sweden 32:28

Bratislava, 15 January – Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP) and left wing Angel Fernandez (ESP), and Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR) and right wing Niclas Ekberg (SWE) after Spain beat Sweden 32:28 in their group D preliminary round match in Bratislava on Saturday.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On the match:

“Both teams showed a great fight and a good match, and for sure I am satisfied with our performance and two important points. It was difficult for us to get in the match. But when we managed to get everything more balanced thanks to our efficiency in attack, which even got better after the break against a big rival.

“Besides, we defended well and finally took the advantage of some goals in the final minutes. We showed a clear improvement compared to the first match, so I am really satisfied with tonight.”

Angel Fernandez (ESP) – left wing

On the victory:

“This was a really important game and we fought really good, but still, we have to fix some things in attack. But we were close to the way we wanted to play. It was really important to control the Swedish fastbreaks, we were not so happy with everything in the second half, but we won this match. We have not won anything now, we need more good matches in future.”

Glenn Solberg (NOR) – coach, Sweden

On the defeat:

“It was a good game of Spain, we are disappointed, as we did not play as good as we can in defence. In attack, we caused too many faults, when the good Spanish defence put pressure on us. In the next match, we need to be more aggressive in defence and cause less technical faults in attack.”

Niclas Ekberg (SWE) – right wing

On the match:

“It was a very intense game, and we knew before that it would be difficult. We had too many technical errors – and against a great team like Spain you cannot win with this number, as you do not have so many attacks, so you have to be careful with the balls.”

On the pressure in the match against the Czech Republic:

“It is normal in such a tournament that you lose those duels. Today’s defeat does not change that much for us, we have to rest and focus and hope to be really aggressive and run a lot in the match.”

GROUP F

Slovakia vs Lithuania 31:26

Košice, 15 January – Quotes from Slovakia coach Peter Kukucka (SVK) and Marian Zernovic (SVK) and Lithuania coach Mindaugas Andriuska (LTU) and Benas Petreikis (LTU), after Slovakia beat Lithuania 31:26 in the preliminary round match in Steel Arena in Košice at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday.

Peter Kukucka (SVK) - coach

On the win against Lithuania:

“It was a very tough game. Tonight, we made a big step to complete our goal, which is to qualify for the main round, in Bratislava. Our defence was very good, I am very satisfied. In the second half, we had some trouble for 10 minutes, Lithuania managed to cut the gap, but we stood still and won the game.”

On their next game against Russia:

“There will be a bit of pressure on us, but the big advantage is that we play at home and that could be crucial for us. We will go for the win and try to achieve the qualification. Russia are a good team, but with the fans behind us, we can win once again. Right now, we only need to rest after the first two games.”

Marian Zernovic (SVK) - goalkeeper

On the win against Lithuania:

“It was a big fight from both teams, but we managed to win. Lithuania tried to do everything to win, but we fought during the 60 minutes and won. My fellow goalkeeper, Teodor Paul, had an amazing game when he came in in the second half and everything went smooth.”

Mindaugas Andriuska (LTU) – coach

On the loss against Slovakia:

“We have to find our game, to feel it better in the start of the game. We have missed our two best central defenders and we needed to adapt, but it was nearly impossible. We had to permanently attempt to come back and it was very difficult to do, it really took a toll. There were too many misses and this is why we lost.”

On their next match, against Norway:

“This could be our last match in the tournament, so we will have no more pressure. Hopefully, we will be healthy and we will play our best game.”

Benas Petreikis (LTU), centre back

On the loss against Slovakia:

“The biggest problem for us was that we did not follow our plan. We had some missing players, but we missed to many shots, too many easy one-on-ones with the Slovak goalkeepers.”

 

Norway vs Russia 23:22

Košice, 15 January – Quotes from Russia coach Velimir Petkovic (SRB) and right back Alexander Kotov (RUS), and Norway coach Christian Berge (NOR) and line player Magnus Gullerud (NOR), after Russia beat Norway 23:22 in the group F preliminary round match in Steel Arena in Košice at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday.

Velimir Petkovic (SRB) – coach Russia

On the win against Norway:

“I am very glad for the win, because after the game against Lithuania I was quite disappointed. We played really good against Norway, one of the greatest sides in Europe. The work we are putting in is there to be seen here, at the EHF EURO 2022.”

On the next match against Slovakia:

“After the game, I spoke with my team about the next match, against Slovakia. I think it will be an easier game than the one against Norway, but we need to be ready for it.”

Alexander Kotov (RUS) - right back

On the win against Norway:

“After the first game, I was not so sure we could win, but we really proved that we are a very good team with this result. Teams should fear and respect us in the future, I am very happy with this win.”

Christian Berge (NOR) – coach

On the loss against Russia:

“Russia played very good today, they played a very tough handball, very physical. We did too many mistakes in attack, we failed on fast breaks. Russia were the better team today and this is why they won the two points.”

On the next game against Lithuania:

“We need to forget about this match and try to do better. But we have big problems now, it will be difficult.”

Magnus Gullerud (NOR) - line player

On the loss against Russia:

“They earned this win, they played very good. I am very disappointed, not about the result, but because we did not fulfil our potential. Credit to Russia for this win, it is not usual that we score only 22 goals in a game and we must improve.”

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