24-28: Spain wakes up in time to avoid defeat
The Spanish handball team closed its journey in the first phase of the European Championships in Hungary and Slovakia with full victories, after beating Bosnia Herzegovina 24-28 on Monday in a match in which the ‘Hispanics’ failed to enter the game until Well into the second half. An awakening that coincided with the departure of goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, who with his opportune saves seemed, finally, to activate the Spanish team in defense and, above all, the side Chema Márquez, one of the five new faces that presents Spain in this tournament, which with its goals gave the attack the effectiveness it had lacked until then.
Despite the insistence prior to the match, the ‘Hispanics’, with classification already assured for the next round, did not apply themselves “two hundred percent”, as Jorge Maqueda announced, in search of victory. As was confirmed at the start of the game in which the Spanish internationals allowed themselves to be carried away by the tiresome rhythm that the Bosnian team likes to impose on their matches. A parsimony in which players like Ivan Karacic, author of four goals in the first thirty minutes, or the veteran winger Nikola Prce, 41, who signed three of the fourteen goals that Bosnia achieved in the first half.
Only the young centre-back Agustín Casado and the winger Kauldi Odriozola, who was making his debut with the Spanish national team shirt in a major international competition, seemed determined to give the Spanish team speed. But the truth is that Spain never managed to provide the necessary intensity neither to the defense, where it was excessively soft in contact with the Bosnian pitchers, nor to the attack because it messed up more than usual.
A circumstance that not only allowed goalkeeper Benjamin Buric to shine, the great star of the Balkan team, who stopped up to seven balls in the first half, but also allowed Bosnia to acquire a lead of two goals (9-11), which forced request a time-out from Jordi Ribera. “You have to work your legs more,” the coach insisted to his players, but not even Ribera’s harangue served to make the Spanish players react, who continued to lack the necessary intensity.
A lack of verve that condemned the ‘Hispanics’ to go into the break with a disadvantage of two goals (14-12) that forced the Spanish internationals to react in the second half if they did not want to accept a defeat that, despite lacking the slightest importance at the qualifying level, could reduce the morale of the Spanish team. The passage through the locker room did not wake up the Spanish internationals from the “damn” and they did not seem to react even with the 5-1 defense, with Kauldi Odriozola in the advanced position, ordered by Jordi Ribera.
The Bosnian team, led by a very successful Ivan Karacic, extended their advantage even more to place themselves with a more than disturbing three-goal advantage (17-14), which forced Spain to return to defense 6-0. A change that, finally, seemed to activate the Spanish team, which with a little more intensity in their actions began to put the Bosnian players in trouble, which allowed Spain to be just one goal away (18-17) in marker.
The Spanish team was even able to equalize the contest in a counterattack by Antonio García that Benjamin Buric stopped with a sensational save, which demonstrated the reason for his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. A reaction that Jordi Ribera’s men saw abruptly stopped when Bosnia went to an attack with seven men, which allowed Ivica Obrvan’s men to regain the advantage of three goals (20-17).
But the face of Spain, albeit timidly, had already changed, and clinging to goals from pivot Adrià Figueras and winger Chema Márquez, who did not want to remember his debut in a major international tournament with a defeat, came back (20-20). Although the biggest change was in defense, where Spain began to act with their usual intensity, which together with the irruption of goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, who replaced a gray Sergey Hernández, finally allowed the ‘Hispanos’ to get first time in the match ahead on the scoreboard (22-23)
An income that the Spanish team, despite their determination to fail counterattack actions, managed to increase in a seen and not seen, to stand with a difference of three goals (22-25) with less than seven minutes to go. But even so, the Spanish team did not stop suffering, which saw how Miguel Sánchez-Migallón was excluded, the Bosnian team returned to adjust (24-26) a score, which was in charge of decanting definitively for the ‘Hispanics’ (24-28 ) a Chema Márquez who never accepted the possibility of defeat.
24 – Bosnia-Herzegovina: Benjamin Buric; Draganic (2), Ivan Karacic (6), Vranjes (1), Terzic (-), Herceg (4) and Josip Peric (4) -initial team- Bojic (ps), Vuksic (1), Senjamin Buric (2) , Klis (-), Faljic (-), Prce (3), Hamidovic (1), Lukic (-) and Keskic (-)
28 – Spain: Sergey Hernandez (1); Odriozola (3), Maqueda (2), Casado (7, 1p), Antonio García (1), Ariño (2) and Peciña (-) -initial team- Pérez de Vargas (ps), Gurbindo (1), Solé ( 2), Figueras (3), Cañellas (-), Gideón Guardiola (-), Tarrafeta (-), Sánchez-Migallón (2) and Chema Márquez (4, 1p)
Marker every five minutes: 2-2, 4-5, 7-7, 10-9, 12-11 and 14-12 (Break) 17-14, 18-17, 20-20, 22-23, 23-25 and 24-28 ( Final)
Referees: Lah and Sok (SLO). They excluded Vranjes (2), Senjamin Buric, Keskic and Hamidovic for Bosnia Herzegovina for two minutes; and Sánchez-Migallón (2) for Spain.
Incidents: Match corresponding to the third and last day of group E of the first phase of the European Championships between Hungary and Slovakia, played at the Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava.