Slovak national handball team has qualified for the 2012 European Handball Championship this weekend, which makes them 5 for 7 when it commes to major tournaments in the last 7 years. (They ualified for EC 06,08 and now 12 as well as WC 09 and 11). They were competing in a group with Sweden, Israel and Montenegro and they finished 2nd having equal points as Sweden, but Sweden with the better score from mutual games. Sweden btw finished 4th at the 2011 WC.
Slovakia- Israel 38:24
Montenegro- Slovakia 25-35
Slovakia- Sweden 23-21
Sweden- Slovakia 26-21
Slovakia- Montenegro 36-21
This qualification had three highlights for Slovak handball IMO:
The first one came when the team managed to beat Sweden and therefore ensure that only a miracle could keep them away from qualifying (they´d have to lose to Israel by at least 14 goals), this happened infront of a record attendance for a Slovakia handball game at that time as 3500 spectators watched the historic win. A few videos of the atmosphere:
The second moment was last Friday in Israel when the team actually qualified for the EC by beating Israel.
And the third one and probably most powerfull happened tonight in Steel Arena in Košice in what was rather a celebration than a meaningless game against Montenegro. And the record from Pasienky was absolutely demolished as 8111 spectators watched the game tonight in Košice. A number that is gonna be beaten in the near future only if there is another game in Steel Arena and around 200 more people show up or if there´s a game played at Samsung Arena in Bratislava and it gets very filled. I think Steel Arena´s record will be safe for a while. Also big help to such a great atendence probably was that tickets cost 5 Euro a piece, which means that a whole family could have watched the game and see the guys perform well for the very same price that one person can usually watch the Slovak NT football team suck against some NT ranked around No.200 in FIFA´s rankings. But back to handball, a video from the celebration after the game:
Congrats boys, I´m sure tonight´s gonna be a long night and the other Slovak handball will be played (the one with the booze), so enjoy and please don´t blow it in Serbia as you did in Sweden at the WC.
On a final note there´s been one more succes for "Slovak" handball tonight: There´s all the talk about a Czech becoming the coach of our hockey NT, but most people don´t know that there already is a Slovak coaching a Czech NT- Martin Lipták who has also qualified for the EC with the Czech team. One more funny thing: both Czech and Slovak NT have a goaltender with the surname Štochl
Yeah, congratz. I'm not big handball fan, but I've watched a couple of Czech team games this year mainly because of Filip Jicha, he's a dynamite when he's on his game! And I like their coach Liptak, I always wonder if it was his idea to end every time-out with "A teď jim dáme co? Na piču!"