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Thierry Omeyer

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‘We never get enough’ 
Interview with French goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer before the World Championship in Spain
Triple World champion, double Olympic and European champion, quadruple EHF Champions League winner, former World Handball Player – Thierry Omeyer is one of the most successful handball players in handball history to participate in the 2013 World Championship in Spain.
But the goalkeeper is still eager to win every match and every possible title, as he reveals when featuring questions and answers with the IHF.
How do you and your teammates manage to get yourselves motivated after that many titles France has recently won?
Thierry Omeyer: When you have won a title once, you want to win more. We never get enough but we are always hungry for more. We already have something on tally and we know what we are able to do in the future – this gives a tremendous boost to our confidence. 

If France is on top of the rostrums in Spain again, you will be part of the first team in handball history to claim a WCh hat-trick…
Thierry Omeyer: This would be a great story, but being on top of the rostrums is very hard to achieve. Although we had won the two recent World Championships we will have to start from scratch in Spain – and this competition will be really tough. All opponents want to beat the defending champion, all teams are highly motivated against France. And this time the opponents are very strong.
Your preliminary round opponents are Germany, Montenegro, Brazil, Argentina and Tunisia. Which of them do you expect to be your main contender?
Thierry Omeyer: In my opinion Germany and Montenegro have the strongest squads and will fight for the first three positions in this group. So will we. Tunisia lost some experienced players, but has some strong talents, who already showed their skills at the Olympic Games. Argentina has gradually gone up in recent years, for example when they defeated Sweden at the 2011 World Championship. So there will be no easy tasks in this group. You cannot afford to take a rest but you have to give 100 percent five times.
A lot of experts predicted the French ‘golden generation’ would come to an end after its Olympic gold medal in London in last August. Up to now only Guillaume Gille quit the national team. Will all the other old hands stay on the team for Spain? 
Thierry Omeyer: Unless someone will be injured, all our experienced players will be on the team. So we will have a real good team with a lot of experience but also young talents like William Accambray or Xavier Barachet, who have been part of the team for two years. I believe that we will have high quality in our team again.

After the many big titles in recent years – are expectations high in France?
Thierry Omeyer: There is a long list of achievements we have gained and as was the case for recent tournaments we are eying at least on the semi-finals. So expectations in France will be high again. But we can cope with it, as this it is nothing new for us. Our personal goals even exceed what the general public expects. Thus we can cope with pressure.
Which teams - apart from France - are your personal favourites to make through to the semi-finals?
Thierry Omeyer: Spain had been excellent in previous tournaments and may profit from home advantage this time. So they are for sure a candidate for the semi-finals. Besides, Denmark and Croatia, usually among the main contenders, have the potential to go all the way. But I expect one or two surprising teams like Poland or Hungary to intervene in the struggle for the semi-final spots. 
When you talk about surprises: Could the new match scheme including knock-out phase after the preliminary round create some surprises?
Thierry Omeyer: Yes, those changes will indeed cause surprises. In contrast to the former system you just need one match to proceed in contrast to three main round matches before. Even a team which finishes fourth after the first stage has a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals. I really like those all-or-nothing situations because everything can happen. The new system will create high tension. Thus it is even harder to predict the teams to proceed to the semis.