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Igor Vori

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‘Second title after ten years would make me really happy’ 
Interview with Croatian legend Igor Vori
The list of his major achievements is as long as his career: Igor Vori (32) is Olympic champion (2004), World champion (2003), WCh silver medallist (2005, 2009), EURO silver medallist (2008, 2010), Olympic bronze medallist (2012), EURO bronze medallist (2012) – and was nominated twice for the World Handball Player of the Year award. 
Vori started his career in Croatia before transferring to Italy and returning home. A two-year interlude at FC Barcelona interrupted his stay at Zagreb before moving to German side HSV Hamburg. 
In this interview before the 2013 World Championship in Spain, Igor Vori explains why he came out of retirement regarding his international career, why Croatia will be again among the favourites and what would it mean to win the gold. 
It was on the news some weeks ago that you retired from the Croatian national team. What did change your mind?
Igor Vori: After the Olympic Games I was very tired and I wanted to have a break from the national team. I talked to our coach. Finally I decided to compete in the World Championship though, as I am fit again and I love playing for my country.
You became World champion ten years ago. Now Croatia is among the favourites again. Which team – the 2003 squad or the 2013 one – is better one and why?
Igor Vori: In 2003 we had a great team with brilliant players, although we all were at young age, just between 22 and 28. Today it is quite similar. We have a strong team that is a good mix of old and young for whom the 2003 squad could be a role model. Both teams have their assets, however, the 2003 team was incredibly strong. 
It might be a strange situation for you, as you and today’s head coach Slavko Goluza had already played side by side, especially when it comes to authority.
Igor Vori: We are currently three players who played together with Slavko Goluza. We have greatest respect for one another, and Slavko acts with authority. So it is absolutely no problem. 
The Croats showed new and successful tactics at the Olympics with fast-paced handball. Will that be the strategy for Spain too?
Igor Vori: Of course. Counter-attacks and speed are an integral part of modern handball, and we need those easy, fast goals to be successful. 
Your team won two bronze medals in 2012, at the European Championship and the Olympics. Would you be satisfied with another bronze medal in Spain?
Igor Vori: I love all kind of medals. Yet, as it is my tenth year in the national team, I would be really happy with a gold medal. In the previous tournaments we had the chance to do better than 3rd rank. Yet, looking back after some months I am proud of what we achieved in 2012. 
Croatia will face Hungary and Spain at the preliminaries already. Is it advantageous, as you have to be on top level right from the start or not, as you might face a tougher opponent at the eighth-final stage?
Igor Vori: It is difficult to make any predictions before the tournament. You can perform poorly in the preliminaries to luckily advance to the knock-out stage and to explode to reach the final. Everything is possible. In any case we have to be on top level right from the start to have a chance to make it to the top of the group. In my opinion the situation in the PR group is psychologically advantageous for us, as nobody will underestimate any opponent.
Your country hosted the World Championship in 2009. From your experience, will Spain have a big party or will it be under pressure?
Igor Vori: In 2009 we were under big pressure, as everybody expected that much from us. I don’t know exactly what it will be like in Spain, but I expect that the team feels some pressure too. Apart from that I expect a really big handball party in Spain.
You form a ‘Croatian block’ at HSV Hamburg with Domagoj Duvnjkak and Blazenko Lackovic. Is it an advantage for the national team?
Igor Vori: Yes, indeed, we have known each other for years. Thus you know what your teammate is doing on the court. So the whole team can profit from the Hamburg block.
Which teams are your favourites for gold in Spain?
Igor Vori: A difficult question!  France, Poland, Denmark, Spain, Hungary and Croatia have a good chance of winning. But first you have to wait and see what players earned a call-up for their national team and whether or not key players have to be replaced due to injury, as a huge number of top stars did not have any break during the summertime. Thus it could be decisive who is playing or not.