"We are wolves, we are Hispanic." This is how the Spanish selection from handball, which begins its journey from this Thursday in the European Hungary and Slovakia with a double objective. The first, to revalidate the crown for the third consecutive year and thus extend the legend of a more valued team outside than within our borders. The second and most important, lay the foundations for the future and try to ensure that the generational change does not separate the group from its idyll with metals.
And although it seems difficult to repeat or match a generation that has hung eight medals in ten years, Jordi Ribera it is clear that the answer is at home. In the absence of the Dujshebaev due to physical problems and the step next to Entrerríos, Morros, Sarmiento, Aginagalde and company, the national coach has looked towards the quarry. And he has found his men in an ASOBAL that shivers at the economic precariousness and the flight of talents. Seven of the 19 selected play in Spain. And five of them debut with the national team's elastic. Chema Márquez, Iñaki Peciña, Ian Tarrafeta, Agustín Casado and Kauldi Odriozola They are the new faces of Hispanics. From his hands and illusion will come the future of Spain, which opens in front of the Czech Republic (6:00 p.m., Tdp) in a group stage in which they will also face off against Sweden and Bosnia Herzegovina.
They are new but they know what the word Hispanic means. "After seeing all the World Cups and Europeans from home, being in here is something unique and unrepeatable," he analyzes Odriozola. Marquez emphasizes the legend: "Every player works hard to one day get to enjoy something like this, it is a pride to enter a team with so much history, medals and incredible players." They idolize their peers but they are no less. Because they are part of a historical batch. Almost five years later, four players from the 1996-97 generation come back together to repeat the feat. So, they were crowned junior world champions. Now, they arrive to battle against the elders and tell Europe that Spain does not stop.
Keep the essence
Because the selection has gone from the last great dance in Tokyo to the first of many in Slovakia. But its essence remains the same. They arrive Ian, Odriozola, Peciña and company. And continue Gurbindo, Cañellas and Guardiola. Well Jordi Ribera He wanted to trace a smooth change in which he could mix the best of youth with the wisdom of someone who has won everything.
For this reason, he continues to wind up those old rockers who have given him so many successes. To your personal bet from last year, Antonio Garcia. To a Hispanic hurt like Joan Cañellas, who missed the Olympics due to a last minute injury. And one of the best goals on the planet. Under sticks they continue Gonzalo and Corrales and knock on the door Sergey Hernandez, the heir to one of the most well-guarded positions of the selection.
They are the perfect cocktail and in the preparation tournament they have proven to be perfectly capable of scaring the old continent. There, as every year, they will battle against contrasted teams with big names. The Karabatic France and of the azulgrana Dika Mem. Or the Denmark of Mikkel Hansen. All of them scare and boast of effective and media leaders. But Spain, as always, is silent and focuses on the group. Because there is a change of names but not of essence. "What we have never done in the national team is go with fear. It is clear that the team needs time, but I see it with options to win the European Championship ”, dictates the selection. His confidence is that of an entire team that wants, once again, to challenge history and end January with another metal on their neck.