12th January 2017: The EHF is delighted that in 2017 our Under 21 players are on display at the EuroHockey Indoor Championships and Championships II in Lisbon and Puconci, starting tomorrow and followed next week by the Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships in Vienna.
Always hotly contested events, it will take 20 games in Lisbon to determine who will be crowned Junior Kings of Europe in Lisbon.
So who’s who and what are the expectations for the events?
In Lisbon: 13th – 15th January 2017
Pool A: Austria, Belarus, Switzerland, Croatia
A tough pool as current champions and hot favourites Austria will be challenged by 4th and 6th ranked Belarus and Switzerland, with Croatia making the final line complete. They were promoted in 2015 and are hopeful to retain their Championship status.
Pool B: Poland, Russia, Portugal, Czech Republic
Pool B will have the runners up, Poland, from 2015 along with 3rd ranked Russia, a young Czech team who again like Croatia are here due to be being promoted from the Championship II in 2015. Also featuring are the hosts Portugal who, led by their captain Nicolas Wenzel are very excited about hosting the Championships. We caught up with Nicolas last week as the team had just arrived in Lisbon. On playing in the Championships he said “It’s always great to represent our country and doing it at the highest level is what every player aims for. We obviously had to train hard to maintain our competitiveness, like in the last European Championships in Torun, Poland we just managed to stay in the Championship division”
His opinion of the toughest opposition? “Well every team in this Division is going to be a tough opponent, but I’m probably going to go for Austria, as they’ve always had great sides and won the last Euros”
On playing at home he said “Most of us haven’t played an international indoor tournament at home, so it’s going to be something new, but I’m sure it will be an extra boost to give our best. On the other hand we also know, that playing at home could put us under some pressure, but we’ll try to convert that energy from the crowd and use it to our advantage.”
Coach Mário Almeida added that a lot of the training in the build up to the event has been games rather than ‘normal’ training. He added “Because it is a very tactical discipline and, on the other hand, players come already with intense training from their clubs.” He added that it is really important for Portugal to host such high level Tournaments, remarking that “We have good things to show, things that will change the perception of us as a team. It also demonstrates a great confidence of the European Federation in our organizational capacities, which should make us proud.”
We are delighted that the event will be LIVE STREAMED from tomorrow:
Results will be posted here:
In Puconci: 13th – 15th January 2017
One Pool: Turkey, Norway, Ukraine, Wales, Slovenia, Slovakia, Italy
7 teams will compete in Slovenia for the 2 promotional slots on offer for the 2019 EuroHockey Championships.
A total of 21 games in a round robin format will be sure to make this a very competitive event.
Turkey and Ukraine will be aiming to regain their Championship status that they lost in 2015, but with Italy back after a few years out from U21 Indoor hockey they may prove to be the dark horse in Puconci, as their form has not been tested for a while.
Results will be posted here:
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Pictured: Portuguese Coach, Mário Almeida