For Denmark the team is the starArticle
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FEATURE: Head coach Flemming Dam Larsen and line player Sara Hald say that a deep roster makes Denmark one of the favourites at the upcoming Women’s 19 EHF EURO

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For Denmark the team is the star

Denmark are mentioned as one of the favourites, when experts express their expectations ahead of the Women’s 19 EHF EURO in Valencia, Spain (23 July to 2 August).

And Ulrik Wilbek, former Danish national coach and nowadays the Danish Handball Federation’s sports director, is one of them.

"The team has developed in really positive fashion, and their level is definitely higher than when they won the bronze medal at the Youth World Championship last year. I cannot imagine anything less than the semi-final," Wilbek recently told the Danish Handball Federation’s website.

Several other seem to agree with him, and Denmark’s recent victory at the Scandinavian Open which included a seven-goal win against Russia has added to the high expectations many have.

"We have produced some fine results lately, and these obviously place us among the favourites, but actually I see five or six teams as possible European champions," says head coach Larsen.

"Russia and Romania first of all, but also Germany is a dangerous dark horse. I also tend to see Hungary among the favourites, and as they lost to France recently, the French women will also have to be regarded as one of the favourites," he tells

Deep roster can bring Denmark far

"Our own preliminary group may not contain any real favourites, but maybe some ‘favourite killers’. Montenegro have some good top players, but their squad may not be deep enough to stand a whole tournament.

"However, we meet them early in the tournament, when they are all still fresh. Croatia also have a strong team, while I do not know much about Serbia at present," admits Larsen.

He had said earlier that one of his own team’s greatest assets is the fact that he has so many players to choose from.

"We have so many skilled players means that we can play with our entire roster, and this is also what we have done in our test matches.

"We have really seen the versatility of our squad in those matches when goals were scored by many different players. Our team is our star, but of course, we have key players like any other team.

"Our key players are our goalkeepers in particular. We are very strong on that position, but also our playmakers and a player such as Sara Hald on the line are among them."

Competition keeps players keen

The abovementioned Sara Hald is one of the relatively high number of players in the Danish squad who has already made their debut in the Danish league.

In this respect, the 19-year-old line player is actually one of the most experienced players, as she already played 35 league matches for EHF Cup winners Team Tvis Holstebro.

"I do not think the fact that I have so much league experience means that I have to take a dedicated leading role within the team, though. We are so many good players, and we supplement each other well," says Hald.

"I think we are in a tough preliminary round group, and the group we are crossing with for the main round, is also strong, but we have played really well in our test matches, and the fact that we won big time against Russia, who are among the favourites, obviously adds to our optimism.

"The fact that there is so much competition for the positions keeps us all keen, and being sharpened like that is also an advantage for a player like myself ahead of the coming league season," she says.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts