121 matches for the Danish national team, winning the Champions League with Ciudad Real and a lot of memorable moments. Claus Møller Jakobsen nowadays working as a pundit for Danish TV2, and took his time to a short chat with us while the EHF EURO 2022 in Debrecen.
Before the EHF EURO 2022 a Danish handball player-journalist, Rasmus Boysen wrote in a tweet that Denmark will win the tournament, and Hungary will be the second. Is it a correct prediction?
I saw the first match of Hungary and Rasmus Boysen is a good friend of mine, so hopefully that Hungary will manage to come back from this obviously tough experience against Holland. They have a wonderful team, but I doubt that they will reach the final. I think they’ll go to the semi finals.
Against Montenegro and Slovenia Denmark started slowly, but the second half was better on both game. What type of team is the Danish?
It’s a complete team. Denmark has the best goalkeeper in the world, Niklas Landin, and has a very strong defense and there are Magnus Saugstrup in the middle. Obviously it’s one of the the best attacking team in the world. And it is a beautiful moment, when Mikkel Hansen, Mathias Gidsel and Rasmus Lauge are playing together. We have very good individual players, and one against one system. They capable to playing fast without a lot of mistakes and also have physics.
How big the pressure on them because of the double defending world champions?
The pressure is very high of course, the handball is very very popular is Denmark, like in Hungary. As you can see we have a lot of journalist and media in here. I think Denmark is the favourite, which puts a lot of pressure. The head coach said earlier that everybody is ready, and it’s not the same situatuion like two years ago in Sweden, when we made just one mistake and quickly relegated from the tournament. There are so many strong teams, have to be the highest level every time, and I think the most of the teams is on the top, but I still think Denmark is the best.
How can the team handle the situation caused by coronavirus?
Almost is impossible. If you should handle in the correct way, like the last tournaments, in an enormous corona bubble, where all the players and staff together, but it seems to impossible to save them from the virus. I hope and cross my fingers, that it won’t effect the tournament more then already did. I’m really much looking for to go to Budapest and watch the twenty thousand people going crazy.
You retired six years ago. How do you feel as a TV pundit?
Now I feel good, I’m relaxed now. I know how much it takes to be there, how much training takes to be there, all the running and weightlifting, I have been there for 22 years. So, I’m perfect now, I enjoy when the red light is on and we are in live. Third of the population of Denmark is watching us, it’s a responsibility too.