«A major challenge». This is how the players of the Spanish handball team, Las Guerreras , the World Cup that starts next Saturday in the Japanese city of Kumamoto, qualify. The championship that takes place in that town, about 1,100 kilometers from Tokyo, will grant direct tickets for next summer's Games and places for the Pre-Olympic.
"We are prepared and eager," explains the captain, Silvia Navarro , in a telephone conversation with this newspaper just before taking a 16-hour flight to Japan. The Federation decided to advance the trip in order to facilitate the acclimatization to the schedule. «Our goal is to be among the top seven to qualify for the Games; the World Cup is important in itself, but the impact that women's handball has on Olympic Games is enormous, ”says the 40-year-old veteran.
Spain will debut next Saturday (10.00, Teledeporte) before Romania. His group is also made up of the teams of Hungary, Montenegro, Senegal and Kazakhstan. Rivals, specifically the Hungarian and Montenegrin, who start as gold favorites, along with France, last champion. The three best teams in the group access the Main Round . «The first phase is going to be really complicated. We are realistic, we have to try to take advantage of our weapons. We have trained very well in the last week and we still have several days to continue polishing aspects of the game, ”says the goalkeeper, Olympic medalist in London 2012.
The Warriors will play their tenth World Cup, the seventh in a row. «The team is aware that the important moments have arrived; we have worked hard to prepare the championship, ”said the coach, Carlos Viver , last Wednesday at the farewell ceremony to the team, held at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee.
A fifth position in 2003, a fourth place in 2009 and a bronze in 2011 are the three best results in Spain in a world championship. In fact, they are the only three occasions in which the national team finished in the top seven classified, indispensable company to go to the Pre-Olympic.
Carlos Viver has cited 17 players and must make a discard. On the list, this time, there is Nerea Pena , player of the Hungarian team Siofok KC. The attack of the Spanish will depend in part on the success of the Navarrese side and Alexandrina Cabral , who missed the last European for her pregnancy.
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