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Flash quotes: media calls 29 January

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Flash quotes from media calls with Men's EHF EURO 2022 finalists Spain and Sweden, and bronze-medal match participants Denmark and France, on Saturday 29 January in Budapest.

Spain
Sweden
Denmark
France

Spain

Budapest, 29 January – Quotes from Spain coach Jordi Ribera (ESP), goalkeepers Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) and Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) and left back Joan Canellas (ESP) at a media call in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday before the final on Sunday.

Jordi Ribera (ESP) – coach

On playing the fourth EHF EURO final in a row and the chance of winning the third trophy:

“Tomorrow is a new day, nothing counts what was in the past, we are in the present. All those results in the past do not have any relevance for this final. It is a new day and a new match and a new team, and I have to say: a fantastic team. Every team has its own history, we are writing ours, Sweden theirs.”

On the importance of the goalkeepers in the final:

“Goalkeepers give your team stability and they are core players when it counts and when your team is facing a weak period and tough situations. Fortunately, we can count on really strong goalkeepers with the experience in crucial matches. They are fundamental for our team, and I hope they will be in the final, too. Of course, Sweden also have great goalkeepers.”

On the fact that Spain beat Sweden in the preliminary round:

“It was a different stage of the event, so we cannot compare those matches. We have played well in the preliminary round, had some ups and downs in the main round also due to injuries and Covid cases, but now we are in a final. Sweden had a similar way. I really do not know, whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage that we have beaten them before.”

Rodrigo Corrales (ESP) – goalkeeper

On the role of goalkeepers in the final:

“We have strong goalkeepers, Sweden have strong goalkeepers. I can only talk about the cooperation in our team. Gonzalo [Perez de Vargas] and I have a perfect relation. When he saves, I am happy and the opposite. I hope that we can play our role in the final like this.”

On the chance to win their third straight title:

“Nobody believed that we could even make it to the final weekend with this new team, now we are in the final, this is a great story. One game is left, and we can make history. Sweden also have a strong team, and no matter if we beat them in the first stage, we start at 0:0 and the chances are 50:50. This is a different game.”

Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) – goalkeeper

On who are the favourites for gold:

“There is definitely no favourite in this final, both teams have the same chances. I am proud of the performances we have shown so far, and I hope we can continue like this. We have the chance to win our third trophy, this is our motivation, but Sweden also want to win.”

On his role in the team:

“We are a team and everybody has his role, every single player. I was very happy that I could help the team with my saves to make it to the final, but every player contributed to this success, not only me. In general, the defence and the goalkeepers are most important for our team, as we saw that sometimes we struggled in attack.”

Joan Cañellas (ESP) – left back

On winning the semi-final against Denmark:

“Denmark were the favourites thanks to their wide squad, but we only had problems in the first 15 minutes. In the second half, we were aggressive and they had problems with our defence, especially with Gonzalo Perez de Vargas. They had the pressure, as they were the favourites, and when we were ahead we could use this pressure, we played well. We lost so often against them, now we managed to turn it around.”

On the Spanish defence:

“We know that our two defence systems are highly important for us and they are efficient, we can adapt them and switch to both options. Our defence worked well in all matches, this is the key for making it to the finals.”

On reaching their fourth EHF EURO final in a row:

“Four finals in a row is even the higher result for us than to have the chance to win the third straight trophy. Reaching four straight finals is incredible, as nobody had expected our new team to be in the finals, maybe the semi-final was our objective.

“We are so proud of what we did throughout the whole event. Four finals in a row proves how strong Spanish handball is, when you take into consideration that the EHF EURO is the toughest of all tournaments. I do not know how we made it to the finals, but now we are here.”

On facing Sweden in the final:

“We already beat Sweden in this tournament, and it is hard to beat the same team twice at the same tournament. It will be more complicated, mainly for our heads. But maybe France would have even been the tougher opponent.”

Sweden

Budapest, 29 January — Quotes from Sweden coach Glenn Solberg (NOR), line player Max Darj (SWE), goalkeeper Andreas Palicka (SWE) and left back Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) at a media call in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday before the final on Sunday.

Glenn Solberg (NOR) —coach, Sweden

On Sweden’s timeouts and how Jim Gottfridsson takes the lead there:

“You only see one minute on television, so I think it’s a little bit stupid that people are talking about that all the time. But we are talking, we are training, we are talking before the game, before training. We make a game plan together and we talk during the game and as you know I was a playmaker myself and I know that when you are on the pitch you know better what to do than on the bench. For me, it’s very normal that he decides what’s best for the team.”

Max Darj (SWE) — line player

On Sweden’s problems in the first EHF EURO 2022 game against Spain, which Spain won:

“The problem was that we didn’t play the defence that we wanted to and also didn’t get the counter attacks as we want. Now we have to make a better game and then we see what we can do tomorrow.”

On Spain’s strengths:

“They have really much routine from championships, to win titles, and they are, I want to say, the most clever handball team in the world. They have so much handball inside their head, always. It will be a really good fight tomorrow and we hope we can do something good.”

Andreas Palicka (SWE) — goalkeeper

On the team reaching another final:

“For this team, this is the third final. We played a European championship final 2018, lost it, and also the World Championship final. So, we have collected a little bit of experience, of course, in these kinds of games. We have a couple of players in the team who are used to playing these kinds of games. We are one year, two years older as a team and have more experience so we know what we have to do. We have to stick to our plan and do our work, then we will have a chance against Spain.”

On the positives from Sweden’s comeback wins and close victories:

“We have been taking a lot of steps as a team, in every step of the game. For us, last year in the World Championship, no one counted on us. We played like underdogs the whole tournament and did an amazing job.

“This year, of course, everyone has expectations. The group phase was not the best kind of handball from us, but we stick to our plan and we believe in what we are doing. And that just shows me that hard work pays off and what morale we have in this team. So of course, we stay strong for the final and let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

On what is different since they played Spain in the final in 2018: 

“Nothing is different. It’s a final. It’s 0:0 and it’s 60 minutes and it’s two great teams and the two best teams of the tournament are going to play the final. I think both teams are going to do everything to win it.

“You see in every game here that it’s just, I don’t know the word in English, but small, small things that are making the winners. For us yesterday, we had two goals lead with 45 seconds. They had a chance for an equaliser in the last seconds. It’s just handball. It’s amazing. And let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Jonathan Carlsbogard (SWE) — left back

On the semi-final against France:

“We started bad, of course, but then we kept on going. Everyone knows that a game is over 60 minutes. I think overall, we did a pretty good game.”

On the comeback and last-second wins behind them at the EURO and the confidence this brings:

“We know what we’re good at and we stick to the plan and just keep on pushing. So that’s, of course, really good to have in the back. Like, you know you can always turn the game around so that’s of course important.”

On the final against Spain:

“This will be a really tough one. We’ve played against them twice in half a year, maybe. It’s a really good team and we have to be prepared for everything.”

Denmark

Budapest, 29 January – Quotes from Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN), centre back Rasmus Lauge (DEN), right wing Lasse Svan (DEN) and left back Henrik Møllgaard (DEN) at a media call in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday before the bronze-medal match on Sunday.

Nikolaj Jacobsen (DEN) – coach

On his expectations for the bronze-medal match:

“I expect a typical bronze final match of two extremely disappointed teams. Both sides know so well, we faced so often in top matches. There is no favourite, like there was no favourite in the semi-finals. Four top sides have made it, two of them only face for bronze, but both want this medal.”

Rasmus Lauge (DEN) – centre back

On the bronze-medal match:

“We are eager to bring something home, we want this bronze medal. We have to deal with the disappointment from losing the semi and have to keep our heads high against France.”

Lasse Svan (DEN) – right wing

On losing the semi-final against Spain:

“The disappointment is really huge, it will be huge tomorrow and it will still be huge in one week. It really hurts to miss the final after such a strong tournament we had played before.”

On the bronze-medal match against France:

“There is still so much to win for us in the bronze final, we tried it in the same constellation four years ago and we failed, now we have another try. I am sure the bronze-medal winners have more to celebrate than the silver-medal winners, as it is always the point to finish a tournament with a victory. But it is a 50:50 match against France, there is no favourite. The team will win which has the greater will to win – and I hope this is us.”

On waiting for another EHF EURO medal since 2014:

“We came here to win a medal, if possible gold. This is why it hurts so much, so we have another chance to win this EHF EURO medal, we are waiting for so long.”

Henrik Møllgaard (DEN) – left back

On losing the semi-final:

“It is always tough to lose a semi-final, but in contrast to 2018, we lost against a better team. The bronze medal match in 2018 against France was a horrible game of two teams, which were so disappointed. We could never get hold of this match, we did not have the chance to win in the end, as we had big problems in all parts of the game.”

On the bronze-medal match:

“Now the situation is different. We are out to bring those medals home, to win the silverware. Usually, a bronze-medal match always has the same rundown: the first 15, 20 minutes, both sides are still disappointed, then one team starts to score. In the end, it is the will to win and the power you still have.”

 

France

Budapest, 29 January — Quotes from France right backs Melvyn Richardson (FRA), Dika Mem (FRA) and Valentin Porte (FRA), left wing Hugo Descat (FRA) and right wing Yanis Lenne (FRA) at a media call in Budapest Handball Arena at the EHF EURO 2022 on Saturday before the bronze-medal match on Sunday.

Melvyn Richardson (FRA) — right back

On their bronze-medal opponents, Denmark:

“We know them. It’s an incredible team. There are lots of very incredible players — in attack, in defence, the goalkeeper. So, it would be a very good and hard match for us, but we know them. We know how they play, so we’re going to analyse them. And we’re going to play for all for this bronze medal.”

On how to surprise Denmark after meeting them so many times:

“I don’t know if we’re going to surprise them because it’s like what you say, we played a lot of time against them, but these games are about little details. So we have to be focused, we have to play our game and we will see what happens. But we’ll be ready for tomorrow and we are very motivated to take the bronze medal.” 

On the fact France already beat Denmark at the EHF EURO 2022:

“We made an incredible match in the last game. But we know, it will be difficult because they’re going to play with a different attitude, I think, but we’re going to stay focused and play, I hope, with a lot of pleasure, and I hope we’re going to have a good result for the last game of the championship.”

Dika Mem (FRA) — right back

On how he feels after the semi-final loss:

“Better, but I’m still in pain, I think like all the group. We played such a good game yesterday, but at the end of the day Sweden won the game and of course, we cannot play the final and I’m a little bit disappointed.”

On the last seconds of the semi-final:

“Yesterday, I was really mad because for me, I thought it was a penalty, but after seeing the videos I can say also that was not a penalty. So I understand the referee.

“We were behind maybe 40 minutes, so the at the end I think Sweden deserved the win. We were able to make a draw but we didn’t score. It’s disappointing because we are not going to play the final and we were here for this, but now we still [have a chance for] a medal against Denmark. It will be tough, but we also want to win a medal because I think the group deserves a medal.” 

On Denmark, who will likely play with Mathias Gidsel and Mikkel Hansen after resting them in the main round match:

“Like always, they are a really good team. But like I said before, we played against them without Mikkel and Gidsel, but as you saw, [Niclas] Kirkeløkke and [Jacob] Holm played really good — they scored 10 and nine goals.

“So of course, they will improve with Mikkel and Gidsel, but anytime they’re still a really good team. They have a lot of good players. A lot of superstars, so it will be tough but also France have really good players and we can also win I think.”

On how to surprise Denmark, as the teams are so familiar with each other:

“We cannot be surprised; they cannot be surprised, because we know each other well, really well. So, at the end, when we play games like this, for medals or for qualification, it’s going to be the group who are more hungry than the other one. Tomorrow it’s not about tactics, players crossing with players — no, it’s going to be about the mental [side], I think. And who’s going to be better mentally will win this medal.”

Valentin Porte (FRA) - right back

On his role as a captain to get his teammates motivated again:

“I think it’s more an individual thing than anything else. Maybe I will say something to them tomorrow, but the motivation has to be somewhat selfish as well. It has to come from within, for each of us.”

On seeing the bronze medal as a reward:

“We have been locked down for so long, all together, that it would be terrible for us to come back home empty-handed. It has been a difficult month, with the Covid and everything, and having a medal would be a great way of saying that we have not done all of this for nothing.”

Yanis Lenne (FRA) - right wing

On the night after the semi-final defeat:

“It was short and tough. There was still a lot of disappointment. We have to make the most of the time we have to recover. But this morning, we did not feel good when we woke up.”

On how France should reward themselves:

“We can’t deny it, for us young players that have never won anything with the national team, a bronze medal would be something great already. Maybe we have to be the ones who carry our teammates this time, who lead them towards the medal. From what I have seen during the whole competition, the team spirit is very good. But it is still going to be hard to find the motivation.”

Hugo Descat (FRA) - left wing

On the semi-final defeat:

“It still f****** hurts, to be honest. We missed too many things and I am sure Sweden deserved it more than us. But still, losing by one makes it even harder.”

On how to get motivation for the bronze-medal match:

“It is never easy. Right now, it feels like I have no energy left. I am just really tired, and I am sure everyone in the team is also. Today, we will focus on recovering and tomorrow we will try to get motivation. We have to accept the fact that we will not play the final this year, and right now it is pretty hard.”

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