It has taken Sweden twenty years to climb to the top of an international podium after having one of the most dominant blocs in the history of the handball. A figure that highlights the feat achieved by Hispanics in recent years. "Gold in the last two European Championships, bronze in the World Cup, Olympic bronze, now this silver... we will hardly find a team like this," claimed Jordi Ribera after an always bitter defeat in a final that not everyone reaches. "I have told the players: this end does not cloud our journey. We know what it feels like up there with gold, but we got a runner-up with a lot of merit. Denmark celebrated the bronze as if they had won the title," said the coach.
Minus Sweden, any of the other teams that started the tournament 18 days ago would have signed the result of Spain. Also France, the Olympic champion who received, between surprise and indignation, the new medal for the fourth classified, which some did not even want to collect.
The Hispanics yes they gladly picked up a sterling silver that entails qualifying for the World Cup and the next European and that rewards a group that does not accuse the generational change. "The way the final went, it's clear that you're leaving sad because you had a chance of winning -acknowledged the coach-, but we came with new players and it's as if they had played all their lives". The value of 'the family', as they are called in the locker room. "This selection is a pride for the national sport. Others countries admire us because, whatever happens, we are there. Those who have been have left a legacy and those who come are competitive and leave everything on the pitch."
"It sucks to leave the tournament losing, but if you put the cold mind I am very proud", reflected Ángel Fernández, one of the highlights in the final. "We have been quite annoyed for a month by the covid, for the trips... Arriving here after a generational change and being runners-up in Europe... This team is always there, their perseverance is appreciated. Hopefully we can continue in this line".
"When it's hot it will be difficult for us to see it, but when a few hours pass we will value this money more. The defeat does not tarnish what we have done", stressed Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas. The Barça goalkeeper believes that there was a foul on Cañellas in the last Spanish attack, although he did not want to dwell on it. "It is a difficult match to referee. They are wrong, just like us. It's a shame to lose with a penalty in the last second, but without having the best day we had the opportunity to win". A competitiveness that is an emblem of 'the family'.