Spain out to show their class at EURO 2022
Facing Germany, hosts Montenegro, and Poland in preliminary round group 4 in Podgorica, Spain have three tough matches in the first stage of EHF EURO 2022.
In the process of rejuvenating the team, coach Ignacio Prades counts on a mixture of youth and experience, and he will hope for a better finish compared to the last three European Championships.
Three questions ahead of Women's EHF EURO 2022:
Can Spain fulfil their EURO potential?
At the last two World Championships, Spain were semi-finalists, finishing second in 2019 and fourth at home in 2021, but since reaching the final in 2014, the have underwhelmed at EHF EUROs.
In 2016, 2018 and 2020, Spain won once and finished 11th, 12th and ninth. With 22 victories from 68 matches, Spain are ranked ninth in Women’s EHF EURO ranking.
Which changes have occurred to the team?
Goalkeeper Silvia Navarro and Alexandrina Barbosa are most experienced players since Spain’s all-time EHF EURO top scorer Carmen Martin (200 goals at seven final tournaments) is no longer part of the team. The pair lead the young players, who Ignacio Prades has added to the team.
The shining jewel among those talents is 20-year-old Cameroon-born line-player Lysa Tchaptchet, who won the Champions League in 2022 with Vipers Kristiansand, while there are high hopes that Paula Arcos will make her international breakthrough at EHF EURO 2022.
Players such as Jennifer Gutierrez, Lara Gonzalez or Almudena Rodriguez are in their peak years and are highly experienced at club level.
How has their preparation gone?
Spain finished third in the Carpaty Trophy in Romania. They lost to the hosts and Serbia and beat Austria.
Despite those results coach “Nacho” Prades was relatively satisfied, saying, “we made some good steps towards EHF EURO, mainly in the match against Romania. Regardless of the result, our development was good, and the tournament taught us, what we have to work on before EHF EURO starts.”
Goalkeeper Mercedes Castallanos added, “the feeling is good, and the team is growing in the right way.”
In qualification, Spain took five victories from six matches, were only defeated by Hungary on home ground on goal difference and finished second in their group.
The player with the biggest heart: Silvia Navarro
Silvia Navarro is 43 years old, but still among the best goalkeepers in the world. She does not grow older, but only more mature and experienced. At national team level, the two-time European Cup winner with Rocasa Gran Canaria has been part of all Spain’s major successes.
If Spain make it to the semi-finals in Ljubljana and if Navarro plays all the matches till then, she will catch Macarena Aguilar, Spain’s number one in EHF EURO appearances, top with 47 games.
Did you know?
Maybe it is a good omen for Spain that they won the crucial World Championship quarter-final against their preliminary round opponents Germany in 2021.
Fourteen years ago, Spain beat Germany in the semi to reach their first EHF EURO final at the Boris Trajkovski arena in Skopje - the place, which shall be their destination for the main round.
What do the numbers say?
Spain have twice made it to the final - in 2008 and 2014 – and twice they were beaten by record winners Norway, first in Skopje and then in Budapest. The 21:34 defeat in the 2008 final is still Spain’s biggest defeat in EHF EURO history.
Though the “Guerreras” played their 12th EHF EURO final tournament in 2022, they still have less than 25 victories on their account.