“We did not dare to dream of this”
January 30, 2016
INTERVIEW – Germany´s Icelandic coach speaks to stregspiller.com about the crazy semi-final against Norway and Germany’s chances in the final match of the tournament.
By Peter Bruun
The pulse is down; the nerves are under control again. It’s been about 17 hours since the nail-biting finish of the thrilling semi-final between Germany and Norway at the EHF EURO 2016. As is known by now, Germany won 34:33 in extra time and following a (justified) Norwegian protest that was withdrawn earlier in the day, the last, theoretical obstacle blocking Germany´s final against Spain, on Sunday had disappeared. The team and their coach Dagur Sigurdsson can finally relax.
“The match yesterday was a bit like looking into the mirror, as you could really compare the way Norway and we played and the journey the two teams had taken to the semi-finals. Both teams had started the tournament with a defeat and both of them had eliminated some of the top favorites for the title along the way,” finds Dagur Sigurdsson who is hard pressed to single out a particular player explaining the success, apart from from Kai Häfner, who scored the final goal of the match.
“It was really the small things that decided the game. The lead was changing almost all the time and to us, it was mainly a question of keeping our nerves under control until the end,” explains Germany’s´ 42-year-old Icelandic coach.
“We were just hoping to do well”
The fact that Germany is now in the final of the 2016 European Championship becomes all the more important because the many injuries that have been haunting the squad before and during the competition.
“We obviously never dared to dream of reaching the final under these circumstances. To us, it was all about doing well and taking one game at a time, hopefully being able to pull some kind of positive result,” says Sigurdsson.
Handball euphoria has certainly risen in Germany after the team´s renewed success, but being in Poland and focusing on the team, he and his players have not really been able to follow the hype back home.
“I really cannot say, but from what I know, Germany is more or less standing upside down because of our success here, and we are obviously happy about that.”
A fourth time against Spain
Spain and Germany have already met once at this European Championship. In the preliminary round, Spain won 32:29.
“Actually, the final Sunday will be the fourth time we are meeting Spain in this competition. First, we met them twice in our EURO qualification group (each team securing one victory) and then during the group phase in Wroclaw.”
“Of course, Spain will be an extremely tough challenge once again. They do not only have a great team, but also a veteran crew and their players have enormous experience playing this type of big matches – much more than our players do.”
“However, I still believe we can improve compared to our first game against them here in Poland, not the least because some our players are more rested than theirs. For instance, the newcomers who had replaced our injured players scored ten of our goals in the semi-final against Norway. Those players watched the group phase on the sofa at home and they will obviously be more rested than players who have made it through the whole tournament,” says Dagur Sigurdsson.