The main characters of the EHF EURO 2022 are grateful to the fans
Handball fans were able to enjoy high-quality matches with great moments on Monday in the Budapest Handball Arena. Some thoughts from the dominant players of the day.
We’ve covered what happened on Monday in our more detailed summary, which can be read here.
Iceland–Croatia 22-23 (12-10)
Ivan Pesic, CRO, goalkeeper
‘It was a very tough game. For fifty minutes we played very good handball, but after that we missed too many opportunities which could have decided the match. Iceland changed the zones, they played 7 to 6. But we came back and showed our character. We have so many problems because of the Coronavirus, we are tired but I am very proud of my team. I was not in the locker room at the half time-break so I do not know what the coach said to the guys, but our defence was amazing in the second half, my teammates helped me a lot. I think the atmosphere was better in our former game against Denmark, but I am really thankful for the fans who helped us today.’
Orri Freyr Þorkelsson, ISL, left-wing:
‘We were able to build up a 2-goal lead in the first half but after the break we felt a little tiredness and we made awful mistakes in the offense. Our defence performed very well and we had the chance to win this game, but we did not live up to the task. It was an extremely important match but we lost. We still have one more match in the Main Round where we will try to give our best and be sharp against Montenegro because this team deserves to be in the semi-final.’
Denmark–Netherlands 35-23 (21-12)
Mikkel Hansen, DEN, right back:
‘We reached the semi-final, but it does not change a lot. Maybe we can rest some of our players against France but we need to keep going with the same intensity. The fans are great, we all like to play in front of our spectators, that is why we do this. The semi-final and the final will be tough as always, it does not matter who is the opponent you need to play on the highest level.’
Thijs van Leeuwen, NED, goalkeeper: ‘It was easy to see that lot of players are really tired in our team. We knew it was going to be a really hard game against Denmark. We had to make some changes again due to COVID which affected mainly our defensive output. We had a different players in the middle against Montenegro and that makes a big difference at the heart of the defence. In the second half we showed some strength, but the first half was way too soft and we showed too much respect for them. We want to leave the tournament with a good vibe so we really need to play well in the last match. That is the most important.’
Montenegro–France 27-36 (12-16)
Dika Mem, FRA, left back:
‘We knew how important this game was, therefore we started a bit too fast which led to mistakes. Then, we were able to change and control the game. As the next step, we are now fully concentrating on our final game in the Main Round, where we need to beat Denmark in order to advance to the semi-finals. I expect a high level game against them and we need to perform very well, however I think today our side showed what we are capable of. I was very happy to see so many French supporters in the stands and we would like to make them proud in this EURO.’
Nebojsa Simic, MNE, goalkeeper: ‘In my opinion France beat us in defence. Besides that, it was an amazing game by my colleague, Wesley Pardin. We had the chance to come back but he made some extraordinary saves. We fought for sixty minutes, kept our heads high, and celebrated each goal as we want to enjoy every moment of this tournament. The fans were amazing, they kept singing until the very end. They realize that this game is David against Goliath, so they cheered us despite the defeat.’