With a deserved win over Poland (32-30), the Dutch men in handball have once again shown that they are slowly creeping towards the European summit. For the second time in a row, Oran can participate in the European Championships to be held in Hungary and Slovakia next year.
In the last qualifying match at an empty gym in Almere, a draw was needed last night to stay ahead of Poland in a battle for second place in the group. Both teams showed a month ago in Wroclaw that they matched well. The Netherlands narrowly won there (26-27) with a real “whistle-beater” from Kay Smits, with a pass from Luke Staines. Back in Almere, Smits was once again gold on the Dutch side with eight hits. Staines and Samir Binghanem scored six goals.
Poland and the Netherlands started strong, in the first half the results were equal. It was tough, which resulted in time penalties being imposed on Smits and Danny Biggins. The Netherlands wasn’t always accurate in putting the finishing touches on. However, Orange also regularly showed nice things, with an efficient spinning ball from Steins, the traveling middle builder of Paris Saint-Germain, as the highlight. In the first half, the score was 17-16 in favor of the Netherlands.
After the break, the Netherlands seemed to be cracking down on the Poles quickly: five minutes later the lead was already five. However, Poland fought again to tie a tie. In the past fifteen minutes, Orange has managed to go the distance again and after a messy finals, the margin was at the end two: 32-30.
Samir bin Ghanem, 27, who was accurate from the circle, was happy with the game on offer. “The last time we reached the European Championship as the best number three. Now we wanted to go ahead and continue in second place. So we showed that we took steps forward during this qualifying session. Now we have to create a kind of snowball effect. If we do better, it is possible to achieve more.” From the federation, for example, we can train together often. That way we can advance further towards the European Championship. ”
Step by step to the top
Steinitz also saw confirmation against Poland that the Orange team led by national coach Erlingor Richardson is on the right track. “We were better today. You could say we surprised them the first time, but now they know how to play and yet we won. That way we climb step by step to the top. If we keep doing that, our players will automatically end up in bigger clubs in Europe. Then they take that level with them to the top.” The national team. We also have a very young team, so there is still a lot of expansion in it. Most of the boys can still live for another five to eight years. ”
Staines remembers that Poland played well in the World Cup last winter. He sees this as a measure of the condition of the Dutch team. “If you see what we have accomplished in recent months, you will find that we can also conquer the other great countries. Every team probably should be a little afraid of us.”
Dutch handball players have competed in a European Championship only once before. That was January 2020 in Norway. Then the team was eliminated from the group stage.
Also read: Orange handball player Ben Ghanem: ‘Alsmeir is more than a mountain hut in Germany’
Samir bin Ghanem (27) is one of the few handball players on the national team who still plays in the Netherlands. Interview.
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