Spain’s Altherrenriege rocks the Handball-EM in Croatia. On Sunday, the Iberians want to crown themselves in the final against record European champion Sweden with the EM title –it would be their first.
The “old men” were great as little children over the parquet. They jumped in circles, celebrated with their fans and fell into their arms with joy over and over again. After the surprise coup against the World Champion of France, Spain’s handballers in the final game on Sunday against record European champion Sweden now want to finally put on the EM crown in the sixth round.
“This feeling is very nice,” said former Kieler Joan Canellas, intoxicated by the amazingly safe 27:23 semi-finals against the big tournament favorite. But even in the next breath, the experienced backroom player recalled that the mission of the conqueror of Germany has not yet been accomplished.” We are satisfied, but we were satisfied two years ago. Now we want to write history.”
Experience of the greatest trump
That is what the Spaniards wanted more often. Five times the Iberians were in an EM endgame, five times they failed. Latest 2016 in Poland to Germany. Just no more deja vu, the final curse will finally be defeated.” This was our goal from the beginning,”said Defence Chief Gedeon Guardiola of the German Master Rhein-Neckar Lion. Comparison: For Sweden, on Sunday (20:30 o’clock) EM title number five.
The great strength of the Spaniards, who were not among the very great favorites before the tournament like the Scandinavians, lies in experience. At 30,5 years old, the age of the EM team is well above that of the other teams. Nine players have already crossed the 30’s. That’s our secret,”Guardiola said,”Our combo is incredibly good. We have young outdoors and experience in the back room. This is perfect.”
In addition, since Friday comes another trumpet called Arpad Sterbik. The 38-year-old goalkeeper, who had long since finished his international career, is suddenly back on the list after the injury of Chief of Staff Gonzalo Perez de Vargas. The French received so much respect from the world champion of 2013, nickname “Serbian Bear”, that they failed him three times from the seven-metre point.
Karabatic bites his teeth
“He is like a machine,” said Canellas about the world handballer of 2005, who won his first World Cup medal with Yugoslavia 19 years ago. Sterbik has “power in the head” and “a lot of experience. You are always a little afraid when you throw against him.”
Besides his excellent goalkeepers, Spain boasts uncompromising defenses and a concentrated attack game. While in the semi-finals the Swedes were furious at Denmark’s Olympic Games with their spectacular pace, the Spanish are more at peace. Also on Friday evening.
Again and again, the French space stars around Nikola Karabatic bite their teeth at the Spanish Defensive. The Oldies Daniel Sarmiento (34) and Canellas (31) directed the ball patiently until a gap opened up somewhere.
These qualities will throw the “Old Men” into the scales on Sunday, to realize their great dream: After the World Cup triumphs of 2005 and 2013, the Spaniards finally want to ascend the EM throne.