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Date: 13.10.2018

The players and coaches speak to IHF.info today - the day of the medal matches at Buenos Aires 2018 in the Youth Olympic Games.

Pedro BAGO RASCON (ESP) – Spain coach:

On winning the gold medal:

It’s incredible, it’s unbelievable, we’ve been working with the younger generation since 2013, you know when you have a dream and the dream comes true? Now I feel the sensation. All the time we have been working, all the days without my family, my children and my wife and now we have this gold medal. I don’t know what this means, I am only thinking about my wife, my children – I need time to understand it.

On what the team means to him:

I am so happy for my players because they are doing hard work day after day. We have a lot of trouble with our time, with our weather sometimes – long work sessions and it can be so difficult, but they are young and have done their best.

On what is next for beach handball, now it is in the Youth Olympics Games:

I would like in 2024 for beach handball to be in the Olympic Games in Paris.

Guillermo GARCIA-CABANAS CARQUES (ESP) - Spain goalkeeper:

On his feeling in his head on winning a gold medal:

I am speechless, it’s amazing. The feeling I have now I cannot describe in words.

On what he sees when he looks at his teammates celebrating:

I see work, I see sacrifice, I see a lot of things.

Dorottya GAJDOS (HUN) - Hungary left wing:

On bouncing back to win bronze against Netherlands after losing their semi-final this morning:

It's an amazing feeling, we are very proud of the team. We were very sad, but we got up and we knew we had to fight in this match. ("We did it - after we won the world championship last year we believed we could" - added teammate Csenge BRAUN).

On the key to victory:

The most important thing is that we are real team and we fight for each other. It's an incredible feeling - we have an Olympic bronze medal and it's wonderful. We didn't think about it too much, but we hoped for it.

Zolatan PINIZSI (HUN) - Hungary coach:

On how hard it was to motivate his team for the bronze match after they lost their semi-final this morning:

My job is not too hard because my team is very strong physically and mentally, and it is a family. Every situation we are strong and every game we win mentally.

On the difference between Hungary and Netherlands:

The difference was our specialist, Csenge Braun, she's a very good player and plays in the Hungarian (indoor) first division.

On what he thinks about when he thinks about his team:

This is my family; every player, every girl is in my heart and my staff too - my assistant coach Agnes (Gyori), everybody - we are a big family.

Iva KANJUGOVIC (CRO) - Croatia coach:

On beating the Netherlands in the semi-final:

I am feeling really great, I was calm before the match and the girls too. We had some kind of feeling which told us it would be our day. We had a calm head and warm heart and we came up with the victory - everything we agreed [beforehand] we did it on the field. Our strong character won in the end. 

On allowing her players to celebrate their place in the semi-final yesterday with no training after the match, until the evening preparation:

They are showing [faith] all the time, I give them freedom to do what they do and they repay it.

On facing Argentina in the final:
I look at the game and I think it will be a great game. It is extra motivation that they are the home team and all the tribunes will be full of spectators, but another motivation for us is to show how great we will play.

On how important it is the team do not just settle for a silver medal, now they are guaranteed one:

I said to them it is their choice which medal to win, they've got a medal now but they've got to choose what colour it will be. Every time I say that, they choose it and they give their best.

Ana MALEC (CRO) - specialist, Croatia:

On her feelings having won, straight after the game:

It was a tough game but we were very strong in our heads. We knew it was going to be hard, but we fought very strong. We knew we could do it and we did it. We have never beaten Netherlands, here we only won one set in our previous game, and now it's 2:0.

On what it sounds like to be in the first-ever women's beach handball Olympic Games final, against the host team:

It sounds amazing. It means that we can play with them (up to their level). I think we are similar but I think we can win this final.

Playing in front of the home crowd is a big, big thing and maybe because we know we have a medal it will be easier to play in, but we're going to give everything we can to win the medal. 

Our Croatian team athletes have come here to support us - taekwondo, archery, judo, beach handball men.

Guillermo GARCIA-CABANAS CARQUES (ESP) - Spain goalkeeper:

On the guarantee of an Olympic medal after his side beat Croatia in the semi-final:

I feel like I am in the clouds, we are guaranteed an Olympic medal and now we are thinking of the next match in four or five hours.

On coming back from one period down to draw the game and then win on a shoot-out:

The team was thinking 'they are never going to beat us'. It was our fault to lose the first set so we started the second with all of our hearts and the result is that we won by seven.

On playing Portugal in the final:

Anything can happen in the final - we are two very good teams and we have played against them a lot of times in Europe and the World Championship and we have won. But it's handball. One thing is for sure, it will be a very, very good match.

Joao GONCALVES (POR) - Portugal goalkeeper:

On qualifying for the final and guaranteeing a medal:

I feel out of myself, we came here to play for the medals and it’s an amazing feel to be in the final.

Now we’re going to go to the final and we’re going for gold obviously – there’s no other way.

On why he and his players went straight over to the Argentina players to console them at the end of the match:

When we came to Argentina everybody greeted us like family, we were part of them so now beating them is like beating ourselves – it doesn’t make much sense I know, but to us it makes sense because they are spectacular and we feel at home here.

We want their fans to support us here, playing in front of these people I’ve never seen this and their passion can help us get gold, it’s very important even if they are not supporting us that they are here to see this final.

We have to stop celebrating now as we have a very important game to prepare for.

Paulo FELIX (POR) Coach

On how long he will let his players celebrate:

We will let them celebrate just in this moment, we will then stop and start preparing for the final – we will watch the next semi-final. Of course, we want to win the Gold medal, but we will see.

On the difference between the game today, and their match which they lost by shoot-out in the main round against Argentina:

The difference was the shoot-out today, we have prepared a lot and in the main round we lost three games this way, but the game we had to win, we won. We prepare a lot on our shoot-outs and we know that Argentina are a very good team in the shoot-out, but my team are prepared mentally.

On why he and his players went straight over to the Argentina players to console them at the end of the match:

I have lost finals and semi-finals and I know what the mind of the players and coaches are when this happens so because of that, in this moment I want to make a positive force to Argentina guys.

On the difference in preparation for the semi-final against the hosts:

It’s a brilliant stadium with many people and Argentina are accustomed to playing in front of many people. But we were very strong in our heads – we wanted to win the game and we won the game.