Spain looks to Sweden for the European crown that resists
The French Nikola Karabatic (left) fights for the ball against the Spaniards Virán Morros de Argila (center) and Joan Canellas in the semifinals of the European handball, where the Hispanics won to face Sweden in the final
Spain, which has lost the four finals of the European Handball Championship that has played (1996, 1998, 2006 and 2016), plays for the title against Sweden, which seeks to regain the crown 16 years later, on Sunday in Zagreb (19h30 GMT).
Third in 2014 and second in 2016, the Spanish team does not want to stop its progression after having given the surprise on Friday by eliminating the current world champion, France, by 27-23.
“There is a game left, the final, we have to be ambitious, we want the gold, to believe in something is fundamental, and we believe in it,” said coach Jordi Ribera.
The Spaniards have suffered two defeats throughout the competition, against Denmark (22-25) and Slovenia (26-31). But they won Germany, defender of the title (31-27), on Wednesday and were shown against France on Friday, so they reach the final at the perfect time.
“This is the way, to continue working with the same humility, respecting whoever is the rival, it is very valuable to reach the fight for gold and more after defeating a champion team like France,” said captain Raúl Entrerrios.
The Spaniards distrust especially the Swedish archers, Andreas Palicka and Mikael Appelgren, in great form during the European.
– Brilliant goalkeepers –
“Sweden have very good goalkeepers and an incredible team, it does not matter if Palicka or Appelgren play, the two are good and they can stop 40% or 50% of the shots, I hope they do not have a great night on Sunday,” Joan said. Cañellas
Sweden, for its part, aspire to its fifth European title, 16 years after the last. He will play the final for the first time since then (2002), the year that marked the end of his reign in world handball.
The formidable generation led by Magnus Wislander and Stefan Lovgren was then ready to give the baton to France, a great dominator in the last decade.
In this journey, an amazing silver medal at the London 2012 Games is his only outstanding performance on the international scene.
Few would have bet on them. In addition his trajectory has been far from being impeccable, with three defeats; against France (23-17), Norway (28-25) and Iceland (26-24).
To make matters worse, Jesper Nielsen and his teammates were very close to being eliminated on Wednesday, entering the semifinals finally thanks to the difference of goals and the unusual format of the competition.
But finally they will face the duel for the title with confidence after winning 35-34 in the semifinals to Denmark.
In the match for third place, France will play against Denmark, also on Sunday (17h00 GMT).