10/12/2019

Russia hope to bring back good old days

MEN'S EHF EURO 2020 COUNTDOWN #20: Russia. After a period of disappointment in recent years, the Russian team hope to make their fans happy again

Russia are returning to the EHF EURO in 2020, after missing the previous edition two years ago.

Russia have enjoyed a lot of success in the past, yet their recent results have been frustrating. The team failed to qualify for the Men's EHF EURO 2018 and finished only 14th at the 2019 IHF World Championship.

However, the Russians had a solid qualification campaign for the EHF EURO 2020, and they hope to keep momentum in the final tournament.

Three questions before the Men's EHF EURO 2020:

- Can Eduard Koksharov bring success to Russia as a coach? 

In his playing days, Eduard Koksharov achieved a lot with Russia, winning gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as well as the 1997 World Championship. The current generation of Russian players cannot boast this kind of success with the national team, but their head coach’s goal is to bring back old winning traditions. Koksharov, who has been at the Russian helm since 2017, knows his players very well, and with some of them, he has also been working at HC Vardar – previously as a sports director, and now as a coach. 

- Will Russia be able to put together their best squad?

Russia’s performance at the EHF EURO 2020 will depend on the availability and physical shape of their key figures. In this respect, the team has been unlucky in recent months. Players such as Pavel Atman, Alexsander Shkurinskiy, Victor Kireev, Sergey Gorpishin and Sergei Gorbok suffered from injuries and health problems, so it has been hard for head coach Eduard Koksharov to put together all the best players. And it remains to be seen if the problems will be successfully solved by January.

- Can players from Russian clubs perform at the same level as those who play abroad?

Koksharov can rely on a number of Vardar players, such as Pavel Atman, Sergei Gorbok, Gleb Kalarash, Daniil Shishkarev and Timur Dibirov. Besides, Alexsander Shkurinskiy plays a key role at HC Meshkov Brest, Victor Kireev is important for HC Motor Zaporozhye, and Dmitry Zhitnikov does a good job at Pick Szeged. However, many others play their club handball in Russia, mainly at Chekhovskie Medvedi and Spartak, and it is hard to say whether they will be able to perform at the same level as their teammates from foreign clubs.

Under the spotlight: Alexsander Shkurinskiy

The 24-year-old player from HC Meshkov Brest is seen as one of the potential young stars at the EHF EURO 2020. In recent years, he has made significant progress and become an important figure not only at his club, but also in Russia’s national team. Shkurinskiy is a fast, technically gifted and versatile player, who can perform both as a left back and a playmaker.

Self-esteem

“Our group is easier than the groups with France and Norway, or Germany and Spain. Our primary goal is to progress to the main round, and then we also want to fight for Olympic qualification,” Russia’s head coach Eduard Koksharov says.

Fun fact

Russia’s captain is HC Vardar right wing Daniil Shishkarev, while the president of the national federation is Sergei Shishkarev – but they are not related.

What the numbers say

Since 1994, Russia had participated in 13 EHF EURO final tournaments in a row before missing the 2018 edition, and now the team is making its comeback.

written by Sergey Nikolaev / jh