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Marko Vujin

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Hoping for a semi-final against Croatia
Interview with Serbian scorer Marko Vujin
Marko Vujin is a typical powerful Balkan scorer with great shooting abilities. He will be eager to win the top scorer crown at the 2013 Men’s World Championship in Spain. The left-handed Serbian’s (28) greatest achievement so far was the silver medal at the 2012 European Championship on home soil. Later that year he qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time. Vujin started his career in Serbia before transferring to Hungarian top clubs of Dunaferr and Veszprem to claim the EHF Cup title. 
Vujin is one of the key players of the Serbian national team, who has earned nearly 100 call-ups to date. Before this season’s opening he moved to German Champions League winner THW Kiel.
In this interview Vujin talks about his team’s prospects in Spain and the ‘real character’ of Serbian handball. 

Serbia won the silver medal at the 2012 European Championship but missed the Olympic quarter-finals this year. Which competition did reflect the ‘real character’ of your team?
Marco Vujin: The European Championship on home soil was incredible, something outstanding for the team and the whole country. Playing ‘at home’ was for sure a big advantage. Qualifying for the Olympic Games was something special too. In London we did not perform that well. But now all our players are fit again, and competing in a World Championship is less exhausting than competing in a European Championship or in the Olympics. So we are really optimistic in view of Spain. 
What is Serbia’s objective in Spain?
Marco Vujin: We want to reach the quarter-finals then we will see what happens. 
One of your key players is goalkeeper Darko Stanic. Is it correct that he announced he would not compete in Spain?
Marco Vujin: No, it is not. He announced that he would probably take a break from the national team after the World Championship. He is a brilliant goalkeeper, and one of Serbia’s major keys to success, as he is currently in perfect shape. 
Serbia had ups and downs at the 2011 World Championship. Do you now perform constantly at high level?
Marco Vujin: The World Championship in Sweden was the first tournament with our new coach we didn’t have that much time to prepare for. During the tournament we performed well but also showed poor performances. I am confident that we are able to assure a steady performance, as we managed to obtain a solid defence now. 
Which opponents do you think are the strongest in the preliminaries? 
Marco Vujin: Serbia, Slovenia and Poland are the favourites to finish at the top of the group. We have a perfect schedule, as we will face Korea, Belarus and Saudi Arabia first to get into perfect shape for the crucial matches.
In case you go ahead, you might face Croatia at the eighth-final stage like you did at the EURO semi-final in Belgrade. Would you look forward to that duel or is Croatia currently too strong?
Marco Vujin: We hope to win our group in order to avoid opponents like Spain, Croatia or Hungary at the eighth-finals. In case you finish second or third in this group, you will have a really tough eighth-final. Serbia’s first goal is to rank first of that group. I would be most delighted to face Croatia in the semi-final. Serbia vs. Croatia clashes are special motivation for both teams but at the same time put big pressure, as those duels are of special importance for both countries. 
Serbian coach Veselin Vukovic announced a major change to the team. Will you be the leader of the Serbs?
Marco Vujin: Maybe, as after the Spain World Championship I most probably should have more than 100 international matches for Serbia to my record. And at club level I am playing with the colours of THW Kiel. Everybody in Serbia and the whole handball world know what it means. I am 27 years old now and I am eager to play for my country at least four more years until the next Olympics. You could witness during the EURO 2014 qualification matches against Bosnia and Russia what our young and talented players are able to do. So I am confident and optimistic for the future. 
How important is it for the Serbian team that you and your teammate Momir Ilic are now playing side by side at club level?
Marco Vujin: It is good both for Serbia and for Kiel. I really like to play together with Momir.
Which teams are your favourites for gold in Spain?
Marco Vujin: France, Spain due to their home advantage, Croatia and Denmark. But it is really hard to make any prediction. In my opinion at least ten European teams are able to win the gold medal or to cause a real surprise.