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Flash quotes: match day 15

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Post-match statements on the 15th and final match day of the Men's EHF EURO 2022.

FINAL

Sweden vs Spain

BRONZE-MEDAL MATCH

France vs Denmark

FINAL

Sweden vs Spain 27:26

Budapest, 30 January – Quotes from Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR), line player Max Darj (SWE), left back Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE), goalkeeper Andreas Palicka (SWE), right wing Niclas Ekberg (SWE), right wing Valter Chrintz (SWE) and line player Oscar Bergendahl (SWE), and Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP), left wing Angel Fernandez (ESP), goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP), centre back Joan Cañellas (ESP) and goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) after Sweden beat Spain 27:26 in the final of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 at the Budapest Handball Arena on Sunday.

Glenn Solberg (NOR) – coach

On his feelings:

“It is incredible what we’ve done today, I am extremely proud of my team, which was fighting against Covid and other difficulties. We always kept on believing in ourselves. In the final, we played fantastic handball, especially in defence. I am very, very proud.”

On the strengths of his team:

“We played a defence on the highest level throughout the whole tournament, the team spirit is another key. We are working very hard together; every player gives the best for the team. I am so proud that I coach such fantastic players.”

Max Darj (SWE) – line player

On the final:

“The last minutes were horrible for me, we were in front then it seems like Spain took over the command, they have the ball and did not score, as we stood really good in defence. Then my head is gone, I do not know what happened.

“We are really lucky to have a player like Niclas Ekberg with all his experience and coolness. It is incredible to win a game like this against such a big team. Spain are the best team in the world, I am really proud of our guys and I am really happy.”

Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) – left back

On the match:

“It was a constant up and down in the whole match. We started well, then Spain came into the game and led at half-time. It is so hard to defend against Spain, they score from everywhere, they shoot from every angle, they are hardest team to play against, as they have so many clever players. I am just extremely happy that we turned the game around.”

Andreas Palicka (SWE) - goalkeeper

On the match:

“I really cannot describe in words what has happened today. We played our third final after two defeats in the last four years, we had not beaten Spain for a long time, and now we stand on the podium. It was an incredible match, but at the moment my head is not clear enough to analyse what had happened. So many little things were decisive today, one goal, one save, and of course we were luckier than Spain. All players in our team showed such a strong fighting spirit, everybody gave everything. We are simply happy for winning this trophy.”

Niclas Ekberg (SWE) – right wing

On the final and decisive penalty:

“I did not think about anything when I was standing at the penalty line, but only on the way to the line. The rest of the team did all that we have this final chance, and I was the one to execute. You do not win a trophy by a single penalty shot, but it is teamwork. This penalty was the icing on the cake for us. We all deserve this trophy.”

On the keys to their victory:

“We have such an incredible team spirit, and we have such a belief in ourselves. We fight hard, we are a true team, and now we just want to enjoy this evening as a team after we had enjoyed the match as a team.”

On winning EHF EURO gold after 20 years:

“At this moment I cannot think that we made history, but tomorrow, when we are in Sweden and millions will celebrate us, we will recognise what we did today. This is what we were fighting for.”

Valter Chrintz (SWE) - right wing

On his emotions:

“I cannot describe how I feel now. It really does mean a lot for us and for the whole country as it was our first gold medal in the last 20 years and we lost three finals in the near past so we are absolutely buzzing now.”

On the reason for their victory:

“We walked on the pitch with a fantastic mentality and I think that was the key to beat this very strong Spain team today. The performance of our defence and goalkeeper [Andreas Palicka] were outstanding.”

On the support:

“I would like to say a huge thank you for our fans who were here in the arena and supported us. It was fantastic to see so many yellow and blue shirt on the stands. It seems so unrealistic yet but we did it, we are the European champions and we will celebrate this victory for a long time.”

Oscar Bergendahl (SWE) - line player

On the match:

“It was a thriller again, just like against Norway or France. The key was the team itself. Several players had huge impacts in this game, and their energy won us the match. Our defence became strong enough in the second half, Spain had problems with scoring, which led us to the victory. In the end, we got a penalty, and Niclas Ekberg was just as confident as in the entire game from the line. The tournament is over now, we are going to celebrate with many beers, I am sure.”

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On the defeat:

“It was a tough, tight and competitive match. Sometimes we had problems to control our emotions but we tried to manage this very well, though we had problems in steals. We could not play many counter-attacks and could not get into the game, later it was better and we turned the match when we were two goals ahead. We had the chance to win the game in the last minute, but finally the match was turned around by Sweden again.”

On the EHF EURO 2022:

“I am very proud of my team. All of them did a very good job despite all difficult circumstances in the last six intense weeks. We qualified for the next World Championship, the next EHF EURO and we won the silver medal. This is a great result for Spanish handball. We showed that handball is a very important sport in our country.”

Angel Fernandez (ESP) – left wing

On the final:

“I am tremendously proud of the whole team and how we managed to stand all those difficulties. We can learn from today’s mistakes, but also focus on what went well.”

Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) – goalkeeper

On his emotions:

“Right now, we are sad and disappointed, but in some hours or some days, everything will be different. I am so proud of this team.”

On the decisive moments:

“After a match like this, when you lose by one goal, little things decide, one defence action, one attack. Unfortunately, I could not help my team that much. But still, we win as a team and we lose as a team, everything is only about the team. And I am happy to return home with a medal, though it could have been gold.”

Joan Cañellas (ESP) – centre back

On the reason for their defeat:

“We did not play good in the last part of the final. It is difficult to analyse right now as we gave everything. We played well in attack, but our defence was not good enough today. At the last moment we did not have the attitude to come back and in the last 30 seconds I threw everything away.”

On the tournament:

“Now I cannot say that I am satisfied with the silver medal, but we did a really good tournament. I did not expect that we could reach the final. It is very tough to lose like this. We will have time to think it over and we can say that it was an amazing EHF EURO 2022, but right now it is hard to think that.”

Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) – goalkeeper

On the match:

“The game was decided in the last action, the last moment, the difference between the two teams was so small. It is hard to say anything after that, they got a penalty, we did not get anything in our last attack.”

On his emotions:

“It is a sad moment for us, it is tough to finish a tournament with a loss, but we fought hard as we promised. In the future we will be proud of what we achieved here. We wanted to win the gold medal, the team was incredible today, the rivals respect us, because we always compete until the end. That mentality is what helped us get here in the final. It was an honour to play in Budapest with the national team.”

On the final and the EHF EURO 2022:

“For us respect from our opponents is the most positive thing we can receive. Of course, we wanted to be in Sweden’s place, as you never know how many more chances you have to win a final. We gave everything and were competitive, so I am not that disappointed, as we lost against a great team. Today we see it dark, but this will change quickly. We can be proud of what we have achieved here. We have a special team, we stand together, it is incredible.”

 

BRONZE-MEDAL MATCH

France vs Denmark

Budapest – Sunday 30 January – Quotes from Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), goalkeeper Kevin Møller (DEN), line player Magnus Saugstrup (DEN), centre back Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN), France coach Guillaume Gille (FRA), goalkeeper Vincent Gerard (FRA), line player Ludovic Fabregas (FRA), right back Dika Mem (FRA), centre back Kentin Mahe (FRA) and right wing Benoit Kounkoud (FRA), after the 35:32 victory for Denmark after extra time in the bronze medal match of the EHF EURO 2022 in Arena Budapest.

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) – coach

On the victory:

“It was a tough and exciting match. We had a tremendous defence and a strong goalkeeper. When Matthias Gidsel went out early, we even fought harder. We fought like crazy in the last 60 minutes of the game. I am so happy with this win and I am very proud of my team.”

On comparing the bronze medal in Budapest with gold at the World Championship in Egypt and silver at the Olympic Games in Tokyo:

“The others were better. I like the one from Egypt most, the one in Tokyo was worth more than this win today. But I have to say that both teams, France and Denmark – and the others – faced so many difficulties. In the last 14 months we were locked in hotels for four months, this is not human. You are going crazy in the hotel.

"The last month has been the longest month of my life, it was so boring. I hope for everyone that this was the last tournament under those conditions, otherwise we all go crazy. Taking all this in account, both teams delivered a great and impressive match. I am proud of both teams, and I am proud of the handball we only played in the last months.“

Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) – centre back

On the bronze medal match:

"It was a very difficult game. We fought until the end of the match and I am proud that we could win a medal after this long month. The difference was that our defence was a little bit better and Niklas Landin was extraordinary today in the goal. The defensive wall also gave him support, but today he was a beast."

Kevin Møller (DEN) – goalkeeper

On the key of success:

“In the extra time we had more power than France. It was up and down, but we always kept fighting.”

On the performance of Niklas Landin:

“World-class, as usual. You do not expect something else from him, he is simply brilliant.”

On his first ever EHF EURO medal:

“We are so happy that we finally made it, Denmark had not won a medal at European championships since 2014, I have my first EURO medal now – and I hope it is not the last. It is really important for us to bring something home.”

Magnus Saugstrup (DEN) – line player

On the match:

“We are tired now, we had a tough month. But I am not only tired but also happy that we got the medal. Now, I am looking forward to a great evening.”

Guillaume Gille (FRA) – coach

On the keys of the defeat and his emotions:

“It is hard to lose a match after extra-time. It was a crazy game, it was a game on top level with a lot of emotions, a lot of ups and downs, both sides intermediately had control of the game. So I am really disappointed to sit here with the fourth place, but this is sport. We have to say we did not manage to start right in the extra-time, we made simple mistakes, this was the key of the extra-time.”

Vincent Gerard (FRA) – goalkeeper

On the feelings:

“I am disappointed, it is complicated, when you make such an effort to make it to the semis, but then lose this match. In extra-time everything can happen. I hope we can correct some mistakes in future and make it to the final of the next events.”

Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) – line player

On his disappointment:

“It is a huge disappointment for us to lose this match. A French team arrives at tournaments always with the goal to win a medal, if possible, the gold medals. So now we have nothing in our hands, though we played a really good tournament.”

On the reasons of the defeat:

“We were running out of power in extra time. This was really physically tough tournament for all teams, we did not have enough energy for the last 10 minutes of this tournament, but we could have won the match even before extra-time. But finally, Denmark were the better team.”

Dika Mem (FRA) – right back

On the final result:

“Denmark deserved to win, I am disappointed and sad. We came here to win a medal, and we go home without one. But our new team is on a good way, I hope to improve in future.”

Kentin Mahe (FRA) – centre back

On his feelings:

"Unfortunately, it was only my second match here in Budapest, but I feel good, I felt good since the beginning of the [Covid-19] infection. I wished that some guys who have not had a medal yet could have put one around their neck, and say: we won a medal for France."

On playing in Budapest:

"To be in Hungary was familiar to me as I am a member of Veszprém, and I could continue to learn some new Hungarian words during the competition. I talked a little bit to Yahia Omar and Mate Lekai from Veszprém before the game, it was nice."

Benoit Kounkoud (FRA) – right wing

On the defeat:

“I was super-motivated to win this game and earn my first medal from senior level but this is sport, sometimes you win sometimes you don’t. We played a perfect first half and we also did well in the second period. Unfortunately we were not able to maintain the level of our game in the extra-time and we made bad mistakes.”

On his emotions:

“Despite losing this match I am really proud to be part of this team as we showed that we have a really good team spirit. I will do everything to wear this jersey again and represent my country in as many tournaments as possible. We will work hard to come back stronger and show the world that we are the best."

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