Eduard Koksharov: “At the World Cup the team will fight for medals”

Russian men’s Handball team defeated the Czech team (29:21) in Perm on Tuesday and won the license to the 2019 World Championship. Its head coach expressed the opinion that  at this tournament the team can not just win the Olympic license, but also take high place.

– I consider entering this championship as a return to the place where the Russian team always was and where it should be, said the 2000 Olympic champion and 1997 world champion Eduard Koksharov. – The fact that we could not qualify for the European championship became a tragedy.

– However, at the Continental Championship the Czech team took a worthy sixth place.

– Of course, we had strong opponents in the play-off qualifiers. But we were ready for difficult fight and knew our strong sides. We had to prepare well and cope with emotions.

May be these were the emotions, that prevented you from wining the first play-off in Plzen, where at first everything went right? In the first time you were leading by 7 goals and you ended up defeated, though with a minimum score (26:27).

– After the first time the players got the impression that the rest of the match will be as easy as a walk. It threw us a wobbly.

– At the same time a 42-year-old Czech goalkeeper Petr Štochl played fantastically. Do you know why he didn’t come to Perm?

– He did not plan to. Actually, Štochl has finished his career in the national team, but he was asked to help in one match. However, today’s goalkeeper, Mrkva, played not bad.

– At the same time, Viktor Kireyev, our goalkeeper, was much convincing, then in Plzen. Especially in the second time.

– He did not plan to. Actually, Štochl has finished his career in the national team, but he was asked to help in one match. However, today’s goalkeeper, Mrkva, played not bad.

– At the same time, Viktor Kireyev, our goalkeeper, was much convincing, then in Plzen. Especially in the second time.

– Absolutely.

– Which moment was the key moment of the match, from your point of view?

– The crucial moment was in the 50th minute. Before that the Czechs easily kept us in stress positions. Then they became nervous and started making mistakes. It allowed us to finish the match without over-anxiety.

– What did you change compared to the first play-off?

– We worked on the rival’s attacks individually; and in particular, we got tough with the players, who did not play in the European Championships and got us into trouble in Plzen.

– However, Yurka, the right-winger, scored 7 goals.

– One man can’t drag the whole match.

– It is necessary to get read of anxiety and play sharp. When we did that we broke the opponent’s defense. It is natural, players should realize the moments individually.

– Will the main task at the tournament in Denmark and Germany be to win Olympic licenses?

– This is one of the tasks. If we prepare properly, we will set our sites on top places, including the medals.