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News Details

Date: 7/15/2016

The 2016 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship in Moscow has been little short of a dream for the hosts. The Russian Federation have made their way undefeated through the championship, winning all of their Group D matches – against the Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Chile, Japan and finally Sweden – to qualify for the eighth-finals with the maximum of 10 points. 

In the eighth-finals Russia recorded a comfortable 31:20 win against Argentina, before eliminating Norway in the quarter-final stage and finally rampaging through their semi-final against Germany to finish with a 32:25 win. 

Now the home team prepare to face Denmark in the final – the very side that beat them less than one year ago in the title match at the Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2015. 

Whether they win the match or not, Russia can only look back on their World Championship campaign in a positive light. ihf.info spoke with Russia line player Valentina Vernigorova after their semi-final win about the experience of playing a World Championship at home, and their run through the tournament so far. 

ihf.info: The semi-final was an amazing game for your team. How do you feel now? 

Valentina Vernigorova: “I'm happy with the win, and that we made it to the final. I just can't describe the feeling.”

ihf.info: What was the key to the victory today? 

Valentina Vernigorova: “Some motivation and playing well in defence.”

ihf.info: Your goalkeeper Anastasiia Riabtseva was incredible in a crucial period where Germany looked to be decreasing the score line toward the end of the match – what did you think?

Valentina Vernigorova: “Her saves in the last five minutes of the game were crucial to the win – she's the reason we didn't lose today.”

ihf.info: You have won all of your matches at Russia 2016. What do you think of your campaign overall? 

Valentina Vernigorova: “All the games were tough because the opponents were absolutely different. We had a special approach for each game. In general, this championship was quite different because we had to find the best approach for each opponent.”

ihf.info: What is your team’s biggest strength? 

Valentina Vernigorova: “We are Russians! That's where our power is.”

ihf.info: What has it been like to play at home?

Valentina Vernigorova: “It's something special to play for local fans, to play at home. On one hand we are very excited, and the other we are also very nervous.”

ihf.info: On Friday you play the World Championship final on a home court. Forgetting the result, what do you think the experience will be like? 

Valentina Vernigorova: “It will be a very tough game. We will definitely be exhausted after the tournament – it's a very high scale of emotions!