No beer, no celebration: At dinner together at the end of the flawless World Cup preliminary round, Germany's handball players immediately turned their focus to the next phase of the tournament.
“Of course we want to win everything we can in the main round and not stop in the quarter-finals, but rather advance,” goalkeeper Katharina Filter declared the semi-finals to be our goal.
After the impressive 33:17 victory against Poland, the DHB selection goes into the main round with 4:0 points and unshakable confidence in their own strength. “We’ll take this feeling with us,” said co-captain Emily Bölk. Co-hosts Denmark, Romania and Serbia are the rivals. In order to reach the quarter-finals, national coach Markus Gaugisch's team must at least finish second in the group.
Gala performance against Poland
DHB sports director Axel Kromer believes the so far convincing team can advance to the semi-finals. "The chances are increasing because the girls are self-confident and have a clear plan. It remains to be seen whether this will continue to work. But I think we can do it," said Kromer in the team hotel in Silkeborg.
The gala performance against Poland further strengthened their self-confidence. “That pushes us again. Everyone is really keen to show what we can do. We want to step on the gas and rock the hall,” said Filter.
For the national coach, the most important insight was “that we can play handball the way we want.” It should stay that way in the upcoming games. The basis for this is the defense, which worked outstandingly. “The defense was incredibly good today. That is the key to success,” said co-captain Alina Grijseels. Teammate Amelie Berger found the evening a “handball enjoyment. We were able to show that we can play great handball. Now the next opponents can come.”
Three decades after the historic World Cup triumph in 1993, which celebrated its 30th anniversary on Tuesday, the basis for a new World Cup glory hour has been laid. “We know about our strength, but also the quality of the upcoming opponents. Nevertheless, we obviously want to get through the main round successfully,” said Kromer.
Olympic ticket in view
If this succeeds and defending champion Norway and/or Olympic champion France also make it to the quarter-finals, the DHB selection would at least be assured of taking part in an Olympic qualifying tournament in spring 2024 and could continue to dream of a ticket to Paris. “Participation in the Olympic Games is immensely important for us because it is a huge platform on which we can present ourselves,” Kromer emphasized the importance.
But first the focus is on the World Cup finals, where anything seems possible. “The feeling is great,” said Gaugisch. The national coach is correspondingly confident about the tasks ahead: "We're not going crazy now. But we know what we can do and we'll keep doing our stuff. Great games are waiting for us."