We use cookies

By continuing to browse ihf.info, you agree to our terms of use , privacy policy and the use of cookies. For more information, please review our cookie policy.



Date: 1/26/2013

Both played a brilliant competition by now, both had been awarded “man of the match” several times, both are supposed to be the keys in their teams on Sunday - and both want to become World Champions for the first time in their career: goalkeepers Arpad Sterbik (Spain, 32 years old, FC Barcelona) and Niklas Landin (Denmark, 24 years old, Rhein Neckar Löwen).  In cooperation with their defences they were the clues of both teams to reach the final of the World Championship in Spain.

Landin and Sterbik each have a big respect for their competitors – and each do not estimate their team as the favourite for winning gold on Sunday in Barcelona (27 January, throw-off 17.15 hrs. local time). 2005 World Handball Player of the Year Sterbik says: “Looking upon the team and the individual players, Denmark is the better team, so they will have advantages in the final. Especially the ‘second row’ of the Danish team is better than ours. We currently see how important Raul Entrerrios would have been to stabilize our team, but unfortunately he is injured.” And additionally Sterbik praises his counterpart on the Danish side: “Niklas Landin is a brilliant goalkeeper, who cooperates perfectly with the defence. Those defending tactics enable the Danes to play their very fast counter-attacks, which are their major weapons in attack. So I really estimate them better than Spain.”

Niklas Landin – European champion 2012 and World Championship silver medallist 2011, has an opposite opinion: “I really love to win this gold medal, but Spain plays on home ground and therefore they are the favourites. Sure we know how to beat them, as we had shown in the previous three major tournaments. But now it will be really tough to beat Spain in Spain.”

The Danish talent, who is successor of legendary Kasper Hvidt, agrees that he and Sterbik could be the keys to success on Sunday: “You cannot win a World Championship without good goalkeepers, really no chance. So maybe if we want to win the title, I have to be stronger than Sterbik on Sunday.”

But Landin also found some aspects, which make him optimistic: “Spain is under much bigger pressure on home ground that we are, though every player is pressurized in matches like this. Personally I will enjoy this final from the first to the last second. After our – much too early – elimination at the London Olympic Games we are back where we belong and we have the fate in our hands – and we currently have a really good team.”

Both goalkeepers agree that the width on the bench will be another decisive factor: “In the way we play we need all 16 players from our squad, otherwise we could not manage this high speed,” said Landin and added: “Fortunately for us it was possible in all matches before, in contrast to other teams, which only used seven to nine players.”  For Sterbik, the intense preparation was the key that Spain still can count on 16 fit players: “Though we already had eight matches by now, none of our players is injured. The recipe is very simple: We rotate as often as we can to save powers. Because without powers you lose concentration and then injuries occur.”

The duel Sterbik vs. Landin will bring two of the best goalkeepers in the world of handball on the field – both with the skills and the magic to decide a match on their own.