The Dutch men’s handball team is on the international map. That is the opinion of national coach Erlinger Richardson, despite the fact that his team failed to qualify for the 2023 Handball World Cup on Sunday. Portugal beat the Orange team in Eindhoven and missed the chance to participate in the first men’s handball World Cup since 1961.
But it is undeniable that handball men are gaining more and more prestige, according to Richardson. “When I started, the goal was to play more matches against strong teams. We succeeded. Now we have the opportunity to play against strong teams and we also showed good matches,” he said after the defeat against the Portuguese. 35).
“It was disappointing that we lost, because we had won the previous two matches with Portugal, and they are really one of the best European teams. We beat them in the European Championship at the beginning of this year and last Thursday in the first leg. Play-offs (33-30). Winning There with three goals was a huge achievement. Now we are at a stage where we have to know how to always play well against the big countries.”
The national coach was not sure why things were not going well with 2,500 die-hard home fans at the indoor sports center in Eindhoven on Sunday. “We missed a lot of chances. We often threw balls against the goalkeeper from close range. We came back well in the second half to 19-19 and 24-25, but then the balloon suddenly dwindled. More energy in the team. More energy in the team,” Richardson said. A shame because we were closer than ever to the World Cup.”
The 49-year-old Icelandic is in his fifth year of service with the NHV Handball Association. His contract expires in June, and he is talking about extending it or not next week. “I don’t know if we will succeed, but I know that I love the team. We have made great achievements in recent years and the players can be proud of that as well as the federation and the club coaches. I continued with what was already built here. Dutch handball is of international importance. The women were already in The top, but the guys are now making strides. I’m optimistic about the future.”
Conversations with the union relate not only to the future of the team, but also to Richardson’s performance. “I am also critical of myself and want to know what mistake I might have made. But the most important question is what needs to be done to improve the team. What is the next step? Now I am comparing the team to a high jumper who has already tried to raise a centimeter in height a while ago. At the moment I don’t have a clear answer yet how we are going to do that.”
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