02/01/2020

Spain aiming for EHF EURO title defence

EHF EURO 2020 COUNTDOWN #4: Spain. Defending the title earned in 2018 after a 24-year wait, Spain are looking for their collective strength to help power them to glory in 2020

(Photo ©: Sasa Pahic Szabo / kolektiff)

Winning gold at EHF EURO 2018 ended Spain's 24-year wait for European Championship glory.

Now, with Olympic qualification on their minds, it is time for Spain to defend the title at EHF EURO 2020.

Three questions before the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 starts:

- Can Spain retain their EHF EURO title?

The reigning champions possess a strong collective unit, so the answer is yes: Spain can retain their title as European champions.

The EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia was not an easy championship for Spain. But the team grew from the difficult moments that they faced, progressively gaining belief until they eventually took gold in the final.

With the aim of qualifying for the final weekend in Stockholm as their main goal, Spain will take a step-by-step approach.

As Spain failed to qualify for Rio 2016, qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games will also be on the Spanish players’ minds. They will give everything to secure a direct place by retaining their EHF EURO title.

- What will be the key for a good result?

The basis of the Spanish team’s game must be good defence.

Spain will work with an active defence, 5-1 or 6-0, and if the defence is solid, you can expect the team to win a lot of matches.

Goalkeepers will play an important role, and Spain need Gonzalo Perez de Vargas and Rodrigo Corrales to be at their best.

- Who should lead Spain?

Since Jordi Ribera arrived on the Spanish bench, no player has a guaranteed place in the Spanish national team.

As part of the effort to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, Ribera has led a generational change. He has no doubts if he needs to choose a young player ahead of a veteran.

As Spain do not have a big individual star, their best weapon is the team’s collective play. If this works, expect Spain to have a long run at EHF EURO 2020.

Under the spotlight

Captain Raul Entrerrios will be under the spotlight. Retiring at the end of this season, the Barça centre back will play his last EHF EURO.

Entrerrios was MVP at EHF EURO 2016 – and he is one of Spain’s best players of all-time.

His talent, intelligence, vision of the game and his capacity to make the team play make Entrerrios vital for Spain.

Self-esteem

After winning gold at EHF EURO 2018, Spain finished seventh at the 2019 IHF Men’s World Championship, recording their worst position in either a World or European Championship in the last 10 years.

But this year it is time for the EHF EURO and being defending champions provides extra motivation and confidence for each player. Spain would like to show on the court why they are the champions.

Fun fact

Their gold medal at EHF EURO 2018 ended a 24-year wait for European Championship glory.

Spain's victory was achieved by ascending one place higher in each of the last four EHF EURO tournaments. They finished fourth in 2012, took bronze in 2014, silver in 2016 and in 2018 they finally became European champions, beating Sweden 29:23 in the final.

What the numbers say

No country has won more medals at the Men’s EHF EURO than Spain.

The Spaniards have won seven medals in the 13 previous EHF EUROs, which includes four silver medals – more than any other country.

written by Laia Coll / jw