20240123 Gp I Media Calls AH (1)

Flash quotes: main round group I media calls, 23 January

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EHF / Kevin Domas

COLOGNE - Comments from Germany line player Johannes Golla and right back Christoph Steinert (GER), France head coach Guillaume Gille (FRA), and Hungary head coach Chema Rodriguez (ESP) and line player Adrián Sipos (HUN) at media calls on Tuesday.


Johannes Golla (GER) – line player

On the game against Hungary on Monday:
“We were prepared for a proper fight and we took that game the right way. We played well and we were also able to handle our emotions really well. We started the game very well and that was of course easier afterwards. It’s great for us, for our confidence as well.

“Yesterday was a very nice evening and we hope for the same tomorrow. We know Croatia is going to be a tough game, we will have to be very strong physically. We played well yesterday but if we don’t play good tomorrow, we will not win. Yesterday was just a step and now we just focus on the next step.”

On his teammate Kai Häfner:
“He is playing a very good tournament, he gives us a lot of calm thanks to his experience. Yesterday he played very well and he was able to give us tactical solutions on the court. Players like myself, on the line player position, benefit a lot from his tactical knowledge, he is always able to give us some help. He really handles well the pressure and yesterday he was really able to help us.”

On the atmosphere between the players at the hotel:
“After the game, we were of course really happy and we did not sleep immediately, it took us a little while to come down. We slept a little bit later this morning but we must quickly make the transition with the game tomorrow. Of course, when you win,  you recover better and it is easier to wake up in the work. We had a very good performance yesterday but moved very quickly to the game against Croatia.”

Christoph Steinert (GER) - right back

On the confidence Germany showed against Hungary:
"We managed to play well in the first half, at least we were in the game, not like we were against Austria. And the start of the second half was very positive for us, we defended well, Andreas Wolff made some saves and we scored easy goals.

“It's good we were able to, it put us in the right direction. But now, we have a work to finish, some things we still need to work on so we can keep going in the competition."

On the game against Croatia being a proper quarter-final for Germany:
"They have nothing to win, except for their pride, we have everything to win, but that does not mean they will not play. They have really good players and they are competitors as well, I'm sure they don't want to go home after a defeat. I really expect a tough game, a very physical performance, but fingers crossed, we can use the confidence we gathered on Monday for this game."


Guillaume Gille (FRA) - head coach

On playing a game without the need for a result on Wednesday:
“We are competitors and it’s in the DNA of the team to fight to win. Calculations have never been the key in competitions, that’s the experience I have from my previous experiences.

“We don’t want to make calculations, we want to stay in the rhythm but we also want to use this game to put ourselves in the best conditions before the semi-final against Sweden. Tomorrow’s game has to be a lead into the semi-final.”

On the opportunity to rotate players in the game against Hungary:
“Since the beginning of the tournament, we have used every opportunity to rotate our teams and tomorrow should be no different. Our playing times are quite even when you compare them to the other teams. For sure, this is not a life or death game for us, but we will still do it very seriously.”

On playing against Sweden in the semi-final:
“They are a team we know very well and one that we have not always been lucky with. They have had a very good competition so far, they lost the first place of their group in the last seconds of the game against Denmark. For us, this will be like a first final already.”


Chema Rodriguez (ESP) - head coach

On the game against Germany:
"It was a really difficult game for us. We played good in the first half but in the second half, we could not do anything. Their defence got better, Andreas Wolff made some saves and suddenly things became really complicated for us."

On what he said to his players after the loss:
"I told them that I was proud of them, as I have been since the beginning of the EURO. We know we are playing against some of the best teams in the world and we have to be proud of what we have already done. We have been fighting, giving all for their country and proud is really the word that I will remember from this tournament."

On the game tomorrow being a quarter-final for Hungary:
"It is in the way that we have to win to qualify. If we don't, we're out. But in the meantime, if Austria win against Iceland, we are also out.

“I don't want to put too much pressure on my players. I really want them to give it all, to exit the court thinking that they have done everything in their power to win the game, but we'll see what happens."

On the fact that France, being already qualified, might rest some key players on Wednesday:
"I don't believe this will change anything, to be honest. We are talking about the team with the deepest roster in the competition with Denmark.

“If they rest Nikola Karabatic, they can have Timothey N'Guessan, who won the [EHF] Champions League with Barça. They have Valentin Porte, they have Nicolas Tournat, I mean, this would be the A-team for a lot of countries. And they are all amazing competitors, so I don't expect them to slow down, really."

Adrián Sipos (HUN) – line player

On the loss against Germany:
"Of course I am not happy that we lost and we will try to forget about it as soon as we can. It's easier to forget because we are already playing tomorrow. When you win, you can't celebrate but if you lose, you can't keep your head down otherwise it can be dangerous."

On playing in front of 20,000 fans who will probably be against Hungary:
"It's crazy the enthusiasm here, the German fans know their handball and they know we have to lose if they want their team to win. At least, it's great to play in this atmosphere instead of playing in an atmosphere where no-one cares."

On the keys to beating France on Wednesday:
"We have given 100 per cent since the beginning of the tournament and that will not change tomorrow. Maybe it was not enough against Germany, but we will keep doing that. And we also hope that luck will be on our side, as we need a couple of results to turn our way as well."

On the fact that France are already qualified:
"It doesn't matter to be honest. France is France, the best team in the world with Denmark and I don't think they will not play seriously against us. They will want to win the game to keep the momentum going, and maybe it's also best for us, as we won't have any calculations to make."

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