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Flash quotes: match day 14

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Post-match statements on the 14th day of the Men's EHF EURO 2022.

SEMI-FINALS

Spain vs Denmark
France vs Sweden

5/6 PLACEMENT MATCH

Iceland vs Norway

SEMI-FINALS

Spain vs Denmark 29:25

Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP), goalkeepers Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) and Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) and line players Gedeon Guardiola (ESP) and Adrian Figueras (ESP), right back Jorge Maqueda (ESP) and right wing Aleix Gómez (ESP), and Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), line player Simon Hald (DEN), centre backs Jacob Holm (DEN) and Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) and right wing Lasse Svan (DEN) after Spain beat Denmark 29:25 in the first semi-final of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 at the Budapest Handball Arena on Friday.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On the key to the victory:

“We were aware of a difficult match against Denmark and fortunately it went well. The first half was really complicated for us, but the turning point was when we were four goals down. The previous matches had cost us some power to find into the match. We failed with plenty of shots, but then managed to tie the game.

"We did a very good job in the second half, we had a fantastic goalkeeper and a brilliant defence and got stronger in attack. The change of defence was the key for the win. We are happy and satisfied, and I am really happy for this team and how we promote handball in Spain. Now, another difficult match is to come, we will see against whom we play.”

Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) – goalkeeper

On the victory:

“We struggled in the first half and had problems in scoring. We were down by four goals but showed our strength at that moment and then we turned the score around. Denmark started to make more mistakes than usual, which was a proof that our defence did an excellent job. We believed in our chances and kept this way until the end. I am proud on what we have done so far, but the biggest step still ahead.”

Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) – goalkeeper

On the match and the development of the team:

“We struggled hard against Poland to make it to the semi-final and now we are in the final, which means an extreme success for our new team. We will carry much confidence into the final. It makes me so proud that finally we managed to beat Denmark after the two defeats in the semi-finals in Egypt and Tokyo.

"We left many top teams behind here and we are ready for Sunday. This tournament with those new players will show us the way to the future. We learnt from the defeat against Norway and though we struggled against Poland and Sweden, we are one step away from another gold medal.”

Adrian Figueras (ESP) – line player

On the match:

“The first half was strange for us, as very quickly we were four goals down. Niklas Landin did a perfect job, we worked together as a team and managed to turn the match round.”

Gedeon Guardiola (ESP) – line player

On the match and what will be key in the final:

“It was a great day for us to beat this great team from Denmark, as we had lost against them twice in the semi-finals of the World Championship and the Olympic Games. We showed the right reaction in the second half and we functioned perfectly as a team, in which everybody fights for everybody. When we had found our rhythm, we were hard to stop. The defence and goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas were crucial for the victory. We had the grip on their top stars such as [Mikkel] Hansen and [Mathias] Gidsel."

On their team spirit:

"We always believe in ourselves, and after finishing third in the last two tournaments, we definitely have improved already. But now we want it all, regardless the opponent. No matter, if Sweden or France, we will face a great team.”

Jorge Maqueda (ESP) – right back

On the match:

“We were a bit nervous in the first half because we played against an amazing team. In the second period, we could strengthen our defence, which helped us to win the game. We had to move to Budapest after seven matches but Bratislava is close, so we managed it easily.”

On playing in Hungary:

“I hope that the arena will be full on Sunday and the Hungarian people will also cheer on us. I can play near home now, as I am a member of MKB Veszprém, which is very comfortable. My teammates wished all the best for me before the game, and if we win the tournament, I need to pay a dish for them.”

Aleix Gómez (ESP) – right wing

On the match:

“We knew that Denmark is one of the greatest teams of the world but we were able to overcome any difficulties today and beat them. I think we did not let [Niklas] Landin cause us problems with his saves and our keeper [Gonzalo Perez de Vargas] was outstanding today. As always, we fought till the end and we did not give up in the tough moments.

On the final:

“Everyone can expect the same from us in the final as well. We do not care who will be our opponent we will prepare for that last clash and I believe in ourselves so I hope we can go home with the gold medal.”

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) – coach

On the defeat:

“When you look at the whole game, it was a well-deserved victory for Spain. We had a strong start in defence, and [Niklas] Landin saved very well. In attack, we made some mistakes in the beginning - and overall, we usually do not make that many mistakes. We had difficulties with their tremendous defence. When we created chances, [Gonzalo Perez de] Vargas turned the match around for Spain and gave them confidence. We lost to the better team, mainly as Spain played the last 40 minutes great. Aleix Gómez was unstoppable and Joan Cañellas disturbed us the most, especially in attack. Now, we will do everything to win the bronze medal.”

Simon Hald (DEN) – line player

On the match:

“Spain did a really good job, I am disappointed that we did not take advantage on the great start, but we had a lot of problems in creating chances. And when we did, Vargas had so many good saves. The better team won today but we are disappointed today, but be will be ready for Sunday.”

Jacob Holm (DEN) – centre back

On the match:

“We are really disappointed, as we did not manage to reach the level we played before. Mainly in attack we struggled to find our rhythm, as Spain did a good job in defence. We need to be ready for the bronze fight.”

Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN) – centre back

On their performance:

“Actually, I think we started very well, but only in defence, in attack we were not really confident. In the second half we played too slowly, we just passed the ball around. We never been in a good flow, we could not find the rhythm of the play. It was very difficult for us today, we are a team that needs tempo to play our style, but we did not have it.”

On their team morale:

“The team is in a difficult situation, it is always hard to play after you lose the semi-final, but I think we have a great squad and I am pretty sure that everybody wants to go home with a medal so we will give everything for it in the last game on Sunday.”

Lasse Svan (DEN) – right wing

On the match:

“I think the Spanish team did a great job. They pressured us to play in a style we did not want to. We wanted to play fast handball, but they succeeded in slowing us down. We started well and we had a lot of opportunities to pull away early in the game, but we could not do that. We had the lead, but the margin was very tight. We made too many mistakes and missed several shots. After the first 15 minutes Spain became better and better and in the second half, they improved even more.”

On the support in the stands:

“We have amazing fans and of course we want to give some joy to them after this unsatisfying result. We all hope that we will get the bronze medal on Sunday."

 

France vs Sweden 33:34

Budapest, 28 January - Quotes from Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR), left back Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE), left wing Emil Mellegard (SWE) and right wings Valter Chrintz (SWE), Frederic Pettersson (SWE) and Lukas Pellas (SWE), and France coach Guillaume Gille (FRA), line player Nicolas Tournat (FRA), right back Dika Mem (FRA), left back Karl Konan (FRA), left wing Hugo Descat (FRA), line player Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) and right wing Benoit Kounkoud (FRA) after Sweden beat France 34:33 in the second semi-final of the Men's EHF EURO 2022 at the Budapest Handball Arena on Friday.

Glenn Solberg (NOR) – coach, Sweden

On the match:

“It was a strong game and I am very happy and very proud. We always kept on believing in us, fought for 60 minutes and maybe showed our best game in attack. In the first half we were strong in defence too, in the second half we could not stop Minne, but we won, and I am really proud and happy.”

Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) - left back

On their performance:

"The start was not good at all, we did not come back in time to defend, the French team scored a lot of easy goals. Then we were able to change, and we had a really good first 10 to 15 minutes in the second half, which gave us calmness to control the game very well.

"But the French team had nothing to lose in the last 10 minutes, so they tried to run after us. Sometimes it was a problem, but we had to just keep going and we did it! Now we are going to rest a little bit, keep the positive vibes and prepare for the final.”

On the game and the flow of his team:

“It was again an incredible game. Four minutes before the end of our last main round match, we were almost out against Norway, then we turned this match – and now we made it to the final. Simply incredible.

“We started quite bad, but when the defence and goalkeeping worked well, we managed to turn the match around. Every player fulfilled his tasks, both in defence and attack. We showed that we are a great team. Even when our defence performance decreased in the second half, we scored a goal with every attack and could stay ahead.”

On the final against Spain:

“We want to take revenge for the defeats in the main round here and the EHF EURO 2018 final. I hope our time will come on Sunday. It will be a giant match, and it feels great to be part of it.”

Emil Mellegard (SWE) – left wing

On the victory:

“We stuck to our plan for 60 minutes. We knew if we do so we have a good chance. To make it to the final was our goal before the tournament, now we made it.  We had strong keepers, a strong defence and that was why we won the game, and: we kept fighting together as a team.”

Valter Chrintz (SWE) – right wing

On the match:

“It was a tough game, we had a pretty bad start. Then we had some saves, scored easy goals including three by goalkeeper Palicka. His goals really felt good for us, Jim Gottfridsson and Jonathan Carlsbogard played a really good match in attack. To play the final is really cool for us.”

Frederic Pettersson (SWE) – right wing

On the match:

“This match really made us so proud. We played strong, and of course Andreas Palicka and Jim Gottfridsson were outstanding, but this was a victory of the whole team. Hopefully we can grab the chance to take revenge on Spain on Sunday.”

Lukas Pellas (SWE) - right wing

On the match:

“It was a crazy game again, it seems that we only play crazy games. It was a rollercoaster, we did not start well, but we did not get stressed and followed our team plan.”

On his EHF EURO 2022 debut:

“This was my first match in the tournament, I have just flown in today, but I managed to get used to the new arena. I am in a special situation as I am a member of a French team, Montpellier, so I tried to give small tips about individual players, if I was asked. But I never pushed it, just told what I know about them when someone was interested. We won as a team, and we will do our best to win one more match here in Budapest.”

Guillaume Gille (FRA) – coach

On the defeat:

“Sweden played a very strong game, and I am of course disappointed. When you make it to this stage, you want to reach the final. Because of the Swedish team we did not find our rhythm, and it was difficult to be present all the time. I have to accept that we were not good enough to reach the final.”

Nicolas Tournat (FRA) – line player

On the keys for the defeat:

“Overall, we failed against strong goalkeeper Andreas Palicka. It was really difficult for us to score. To lose this match was really hard for us. There were some situations when we could turn the match around. Jim Gottfridsson played outstanding and we could not stop them. We have to change many things, but there is still a lot to play for on Sunday.”

Dika Mem (FRA) – right back

On the defeat:

“We made too many mistakes, mainly I made too many mistakes in attack. Sweden were strong, and it is really hard to find, whether we lost the match in defence or attack. We scored 33 goals, which means that we were not so bad in attack, though we failed so often against Palicka. The fact that the bronze final of the EHF EURO is the re-match of the Olympic final proves how strong the competition is at this tournament.”

Karl Konan (FRA) – left back

On the match:

“It was a good fight from both sides. I have many regrets now. A lot of details went wrong in our team, and Sweden played well. This was a lesson for us, we have to work on our mistakes for the next game.”

Hugo Descat (FRA) – left wing

On the match:

“My goals are not important, it is sad that we lost though we fought until the end. We had the chance to make it to extra-time, but we failed. Now we have one more important game, we do not want to come home with nothing, so we need to come back with the same mentality.”

Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) – line player

On the match:

“It was a really difficult match. We did not play well, while they had several outstanding performances, from Jim Gottfridsson, Andreas Palicka or Albin Lagergen. Today we lost because we had some problems in defence.”

On their emotions:

“We are very disappointed because our dream was to win the EHF EURO 2022. We have the possibility to win a medal, maybe not the one that we wanted, but the bronze match will be important as well.”

Benoit Kounkoud (FRA) - right wing

On the match:

“We started this game very well but after that we let them score easy goals. They gained confidence and were able to build up a bigger lead. We fought hard to come back and we did have the chance, but we did not live with that.”

On the bronze-medal match:

“It will be a tough night but we need to forget this nightmare and prepare for the bronze match. I am very motivated as I do not have any medals from senior international competitions so I will come back stronger on Sunday. I know we need to put in an extra performance and extra effort against Denmark again, but we will be ready for the clash.”

 

5/6 PLACEMENT MATCH

Iceland vs Norway 33:34

Budapest, 28 January - Quotes from Norway coach Christian Berge (NOR), right back Kent-Robin Tönnesen (NOR), centre back Sander Sagosen (NOR) and line player Tomas Solstad (NOR), and Iceland coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL), left wing Bjarki Mar Elisson (ISL), right back Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL), left back Elvar Jónsson (ISL) and centre back Janus Dadi Smarason (ISL) after Norway beat Iceland 34:33 after extra time in the 5/6 placement match of the EHF EURO 2022 in the Budapest Handball Arena.

Christian Berge (NOR) – coach

On the victory:

“It was a physical tough match, sometimes we played well, sometimes not. We tried seven-against-six in the last attack of the regular time and missed, but when Iceland missed their chance, we got a new life. In the end, it was an exciting game.”

Sander Sagosen (NOR) – centre back

On the match and finishing in fifth position:

“We really can be proud that we won this match. It again showed, what a great team we have. We booked the ticket for the world championship, this is important, but in general, we had hoped for the semi-finals. It was not a perfect tournament for us. We have to learn our lesson from it.”

Thomas Solstad (NOR) - line player

On the victory:

"We were hungry for success after the defeat against Sweden and we really wanted to show everyone that Norway is still at the top. We played really good handball and we were able to win this game with a bit of luck."

On the keys for success:

“We always kept on fighting and always believed in us, this was the reason, why we won. Harald Reinkind was not afraid to take the last shot, and he scored, this was the victory."

On the overall performance of Norway at the EHF EURO 2022:

"All in all, I am devastated with our performance in this EURO as we lost matches by one goal which was hard to swallow. I am very grateful for the fans as handball is so much fun with audience and we got a lot of energy from our super supporters here."

Kent Robin Tönnesen (NOR) - right back

On the 5/6 placement match:

"We expected a tough game because Iceland have an impressive team, we had to fight till the end. Today we showed our real character, and we could win this match. We were disappointed not to reach the semi-final, so it was not easy to motivate ourselves. We talked about that a lot and decided to look forward, so finally, we managed to come back from that."

On finishing on the fifth position:

"It was a great experience to play in this impressive arena, but unfortunately for us, it was not the match we had hoped for, the semi-final. But after this tough defeat against Sweden, we showed character and won this tough match against Iceland. We always came back when we were down. In general, we had hoped for more at this EHF EURO, but the defeats against Russia and Sweden stopped us on the way to the semis. So we wanted more, but we are happy that we finished the tournament with a victory.”

On the general feelings after this EHF EURO 2022:

"We were not the luckiest with our schedule, we had some travel days, a couple of hours on the bus, but it was all right. I do not think that it had any effect on our game. I like to play in Hungary, I love this country. This arena is amazing, I wish I could have played one more game here. Now I will have a little rest, then return to Szeged. I am very motivated for that, I cannot wait to join the team."

Gudmundur Gudmundsson (ISL) – coach

On the match:

“I feel very bad after this match. We had the chance to win, but we were not lucky enough. Every player showed a great performance for the team. Norway were the lucky winners by the last shot, this is sport. But I am proud as my team showed a brilliant team spirit.”

On the Icelandic performance at the EHF EURO in general:

“It was a difficult tournament for us, after three victories in the preliminary round we had 11 Covid cases in the team and had to replace nine to 11 key players in the next matches. We did not have many chances for player changes - like today, we only had one line player - but we managed to stay strong."

Bjarki Mar Elisson (ISL) – left wing

On the match:

“We are sad after this defeat. We did not start well, were too far away in defence and missed many chances. But in the second half we came back, from that moment on, it was a 50:50 match. Finally, we missed the victory, which could have been deserved.”

On his EHF EURO 2022 balance:

“We have shown a great tournament, we are back on track as a team, even though we had to replace up to 11 players, we were on an equal level with world class teams. Everybody who stepped him, fought for the team, we can absolutely be proud of our performance here.”

Elvar Jónsson (ISL) – left back

On the match:

“We can be proud of our team, we showed a great tournament. No matter, who was on the court, he fought for the team. I am really happy despite the defeat.”

Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) – right back

On the defeat:

"It was a tough game and we fought until the last minute, like we have done throughout the whole EHF EURO 2022. We really wanted to win this game but unfortunately it did not happen."

On the conclusion for Iceland at this tournament:

"We missed some of our key players, but we found out that we have other very good team members. I am proud that I am a player of the Iceland national team, and it is a great honour that I scored the 2,000th Icelandic goal in the history of the EUROs. We can be satisfied with everything as we gave our best during the tournament. All replacements stepped in when we needed them, we delivered all we could do. This tournament was a big step for the future.”

Janus Dadi Smarason (ISL) - centre back

On the lost match:

"We were a little bit too passive in defence and we conceded lots of goals from the pivot position in the first half, but we talked about it and we came out to the second half with a different mentality. We were more aggressive, controlled the game and we had some saves from the goalkeepers as well, while we found solutions to score in attack."

On Iceland's performance at the EHF EURO 2022:

"The team’s performance at the EHF EURO was absolutely amazing, we had to fight with all the circumstances but we can be proud after the  tournament, although we are not satisfied with not being able to reach the top four. I also have to say a very big thank you for the fans, they came this far from the Atlantic Ocean, and it meant so much for us to see our supporters in the blue colours. We received a lot of energy from them in every game in Budapest."

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