The clock is ticking
There were tense moments for the Serbian side this week before they finally received the good news of negative Covid-19 tests. Other teams are starting to enjoy their life in the red bubbles in Herning and Kolding, prior to the first games of the EHF EURO 2020.
Serbia: a sigh of relief
The last few days have been tense for the Serbian team, who had to postpone their flight to Billund on Tuesday, after inconclusive Covid-19 tests for several players. Ljubomir Obradović’s side remained in the Serbian training center in Stara Pazova, but got the all-clear on Wednesday morning, when all the subsequent tests returned negative.
Serbia will now travel to Denmark on Thursday, just one day before their first game at the EHF EURO, against the Netherlands.
“We’re focusing fully on the game against the Netherlands, a win would give us wings for the next games,” said centre back Kristina Liščević, according to the official website of the Serbian Handball Federation.
Sweden: movie nights at the EHF EURO
There are experienced players in Sweden’s roster for the EHF EURO, like Isabelle Gulldén, Jamina Roberts, Filippa Idéhn and Linn Blohm, but none of them has experienced anything like the current European championship, where the teams will be following strict health protocols to ensure the safety of all those involved.
Coach Tomas Axnér, who will make his debut at the EHF EURO, stressed that the challenge will be big, underlining the importance of the team’s psychologist, Malin Tillman.
“We have to balance the energy from the games to the moments where the team must recharge. So in our conference room, we will have games, ping-pong tables and puzzles. We will also do movie nights there, to build up the spirit,” said Axner, according to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
Czech Republic: the glass half full
The Czech side was hit hard by injuries, forcing coach Jan Basný to leave key contributors of past tournaments out of the EHF EURO 2020. Centre back Iveta Korešová, goalkeeper Lucie Satrapová, and right backs Helena Ryšánková and Michaela Hrbková will all miss the tournament. However, Basný, who will lead the Czech side for his fourth EHF EURO, is still upbeat.
The Czech Republic earned main round berths three times in their history and Basny feels like this could be the fourth, despite the injury woes.
“I really am upbeat and I think we can beat Sweden. Being in a bubble is no problem for us, because we are used to doing many things together. Maybe I am even annoying the players,” said Basný in an online press conference.
Sweden will be the Czech Republic’s first opponent, in a game due to be played Thursday, in Herning.
Montenegro: a Danish duo to stop … Denmark
Montenegro departed for Denmark and will throw off the EHF EURO 2020 against France on Friday. It will be a special tournament for newly appointed coach Kim Rasmussen, the Dane who plied his trade in Poland, Romania and Hungary, but now will face his country as Montenegro’s coach.
Rasmussen had only 10 days to prepare for the tournament, but found a helping hand in Niels Agesen, Randers HK’s coach, who will serve as an assistant and video analyst throughout the tournament.
“I find that working for a national team was an exciting prospect, so I immediately agreed. It will be hard work, but it will be nice to contribute to such a passionate side as Montenegro is,” said Agesen, according to Danish broadcaster TV2.