A new normal before the EHF EURO 2020 throw off
The first teams are settling into their Danish hotels before the start of the EHF EURO 2020, which will throw off on Thursday in Herning and Kolding.
While Denmark and Spain are trying to keep morale up both in the team and for the supporters, Germany and Romania found out that their mutual game on 3 December will be shaped by absences.
Denmark: The “normal” way in the bubble
Denmark are hosting an unprecedented EHF EURO and striving to make the best of things in spite of the current health situation. With players not allowed to leave their bubble except for going to training and to the games, the Danish side is building a sense of normality by allowing players to have team-building sessions inside the hotel.
In particular, the Danish team are preparing for Christmas. Players have decorated a meeting room in their hotel with festive ornaments, and have also repurposed the room to better relax after games.
“We have bought some beanbag chairs, pillows and mattresses and also have some video games set up, while the room has also been decorated with a Christmas coziness feeling,” said left back Kristina Jørgensen, according to Danish broadcaster TV2.
Denmark will throw off the tournament in the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning on 4 December, against Slovenia.
Germany: No coach against Romania?
The German team chartered a flight from Frankfurt to Billund on Monday, yet the team’s coach, Henk Groener, did not make the trip. The Dutchman is still in quarantine after returning a Covid-19 positive test two weeks ago, leaving preparation in the hands of assistant coach Alexander Koke.
“Our two coaches, Alexander Koke and Andre Fuhr, have prepared the team very well and we still hope Henk Groener will join the team before our first game,” said Axel Kromer, the German Handball Federation’s sporting director, according to the official federation website.
Germany will throw off the tournament on Thursday, against Romania, a team they failed to beat in the past five mutual competitive games.
Romania: Preparations derailed once again
The Romanian team have also travelled to Kolding, where they will play in the group phase and, if they progress, in the main round, yet their preparations for the EHF EURO 2020 are still up in the air. After line player Crina Pintea was left at home due to a Covid-19 positive test, another player is now unavailable.
CSM Bucuresti right wing, Laura Moisa also returned a Covid-19 positive test and has been isolated. Her roommate, goalkeeper Denisa Dedu, has also been isolated and will undergo another test. This means that the Romanian side will now scramble to find a replacement for Moisa, with coach Bogdan Burcea having to choose between 17-year old Oana Bors or 23-year old Cristina Mitrache.
Slovenia: Injury scare for Ana Gros
Slovenia are trying to proceed to the main round of an EHF EURO for the first time since 2004, but they have a tough group to get out of, facing title holders France, hosts Denmark and a resilient Montenegrin squad. Yet Slovenia look more than equipped to face up to the challenge, despite their current injury woes.
While CSM Bucuresti’s back Elizabeth Omoregie felt a nagging injury in her foot and fellow centre back Nina Zulic has been feeling unwell, the biggest scare came after a training session last week, as Ana Gros had a muscular problem.
The 29-year old right back is Slovenia’s main weapon in attack, after finishing 2020 on a high at club level. Gros is currently the top goal scorer of the DELO EHF Champions League, with 67 goals in nine games.
“I hope everything will be okay, I left the training session as a precaution, but I will try to play from the start in this tournament,” said Gros in an online press conference.
Slovenia face hosts Denmark in their first game of the tournament on 4 December, in Herning.
Spain: A special message from the warriors
“This is for all of you,” is the message that Spain will try to convey throughout the EHF EURO 2020, a tournament that they set their sights on since winning the silver medal at the Women’s IHF World Championship in 2019. The Spanish side have already filmed an emotional video spot before the tournament, trying to spread the joy of handball even in these tough moments.
“We want to broadcast a message of solidarity, a message that no matter what happens, we have to get up and fight,” said Javier Fernandez, the director of communication for the Spanish Federation, according to Spanish newspaper As.
“Las Guerreras” will travel on Tuesday via a charter flight from Madrid to Billund, and start the tournament on 3 December, against Russia.