Danes set modest goal for Women's 17 EHF EUROArticle
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FEATURE: Denmark's U17 coach is uncertain how his players will react once it comes to competitive matches at the Women's 17 EHF EURO which throws off on Thursday this week

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Danes set modest goal for Women's 17 EHF EURO

Usually, Denmark's men and women are among the contenders for the title at European Championships and World Championship for younger players.

But coach Flemming Dam Larsen is setting a more modest goal for the Danish team at the upcoming Women's 17 EHF EURO 2017 in Slovakia.

“Our main goal is to qualify for the World Championship next year,” he says. “Finishing among the best eight teams should do the job, but even finishing ninth, tenth or even eleventh might do.”

In that way there should be only small worries for Larsen as the best 11 teams will directly qualify for the Women's 18 World Championship in Poland next year. 

Nevertheless Larsen's caution is based on Denmark's draw in Group B, which includes Hungary.

“I saw how well Hungary played at the recent European Youth Olympic Festival in Györ – and they are in our preliminary group in Slovakia,” Larsen says. “If we lose against them, it will only take one more missed game for us to not even make it to the main round.

“I do think we have a good chance to defeat Croatia and Montenegro who are the other two teams in our group, but we are definitely not huge favourites against any of those opponents,” adds Larsen.

Untested team

Unlike most of the other nations at the Women's 17 EHF EURO, Denmark sent a different team to the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) than they are fielding in Slovakia.

“We chose to send a different under-17 team to Györ in order to give as many players as possible a taste of the atmosphere at a big event,” explains Larsen. “Instead, we had a fine week with our EURO team in Saarbrücken, Germany, where we also played a test tournament last weekend.

“We feel well prepared, but as this will be the first major championship for those girls, I am still pretty unsure how the players will react when it comes to competitive matches,” Larsen continues.

“However, those are the conditions for all the teams at a championship like this, and I am sure that all the other teams will feel just as unsure and insecure before the action starts as we do. That is one of aspects that make such a first championship exciting,” he says.

Larsen knows he will have a better idea of his team's chances after Denmark's first match, against Croatia in Michalovce on 10 August, as the tournament gets underway.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / jh / ts