“The first goal is about to get promotion from the group,” – says Agnieszka Truszyńska, coach of the Polish junior national team U-18. On Tuesday, August 7, ladies will inaugurate the World Cup in Kielce with the match against Angola. “At the championships, we want to play fast, dynamic handball, based on quick resumes and counterattacks. This is the team that can win against everyone,” adds coach Truszyńska.
Are you a demanding coach?
I guess so. But firstly I demand from myself than from the others and I think it’s okay.
What can you and the fans expect from Polish team?
We know that this is a very difficult tournament, but we always expect from the team the best game and fight. Volitional features are definitely at high level in our team, so I count on it strongly. Firstly, we want to get promotion from the group, that is our primary goal. We treat every match as the most important. Starting from Angola, then Slovakia and then from match to match. The tension will surely grow. Now we dream of entering the top eight.
This is a team that can win with everyone. I really think so. Only mentally we have to prepare for it very well, because these are young girls.
Will they meet the challenge?
This is where everything will turn out and it will settle a lot: will the pressure paralyze them? I said we could win with everyone and that’s right, but my girls can also lose with everyone. This is a very unpredictable team. That is why we are working so hard on this mental sphere to “build them” properly for the tournament – give them confidence. For now, everything looks good. I am full of optimism.
A year ago this team in a very similar squad played at the European Division B championships in Macedonia. You reached a high, second place there. Maybe it will not be such a shock for girls and the experience brought from there will pay off?
For sure. Every international match pays off, every tournament. This is a slightly different level than the one to which girls are used every day in Polish competitions. This one is definitely higher. So this tournament in Macedonia is sure to bring good results.
What is the specificity of working with juniors?
In short: from seniors are required, the youth must still be taught. This is the difference.
Preparations for the tournament have just entered the final phase, from Monday you are training in Kielce. Have you already had a small stress?
Our team is a very young team, still relatively inexperienced in large events of such a rank, so I think this stress will come, which is normal, but two days before the start of the first match, which will be crucial, because it’s always a difficult task to start the tournament well. That is why it is so important to win, it is much easier to do then, because there is a good atmosphere and confidence, and the result carries forward.
We remember it from the recent football World Cup. There Poland National Team also played the opening match with the African team. We know how it ended…
We are still waiting for video from Angola’s matches, because we do not have one (interview on Monday, August 23). Once we have seen and analyzed the opponent’s game, we will definitely be ready. I can not say much more now.
Do you feel like when participated in similar tournaments as a competitor yourself?
There is a difference when you are a player and a coach. In preparation, approach to the championships etc.. However, the emotions are quite similar.
It seems then that these first two matches will be decisive in the context of leaving the group, because Polish players will play with the two weakest – at least on paper – rivals.
I would not say so, because there are no weak teams at the World Championships. All rivals are strong, we can not ignore anyone. Our group A is also very demanding.
Then why did you choose it?
Because we know these opponents, we have played against them many times. Of course, except Angola. It was decesive.
What should be the strengths of Polish team?
We want to play a fast, dynamic handball, based on fast resumes, counterattacks. It is known that for it to work it must be supported by good defense.
The names of the players in your line-up still do not say much to the fans. Who should we pay attention to, what is your team like?
You have to look at all girls, because this is not an individual, but team game. Each of the 16s brings something very important to the team, each has its own function to fulfill. That’s why I just suggest all of them. And about the team I would define it as follows: I already said that the volitional features of the team are at a very high level, the girls can also fight together, support each other, they also like to stay together and strive together for one goal. This is also our strength.
In front of your team few more sparring matches: with the local Korona Handball and with Spain. What answers do you still need?
I would not call it that I am still looking for answers, because now we want to open up completely, analyze our game when it comes to positional attack, we want to play all possible variants that are prepared for the championship. We also want to test some plays in defense, but at the same time we do not want to show it to anyone else. When we were in Spain, you could not show everything because, surprisingly, there were three cameras: Spanish, Polish, and the third? It is not known from where.
Here you will probably not complain about anything. You came to Kielce for two weeks before the tournament.
We want to see the entire infrastructure, as it is from the organizational and logistic point of view. We also want girls to feel like at home here. And indeed, it is from the first day, for which I thank all of you. To prepare well, you need to get acquainted with the environment, the hall. We do not miss anything so far. There is also a good atmosphere, the girls are assured of everything.
The organizational and logistic sphere here is at a very high level and the hosts really cooperate well with each other becuse it seems to me that this will be an event at the level of senior championships.
For sure you also count on the fans.
Oh yes! We count on them very much, on their support in good and bad moments, because we do not know what will happen to us during the tournament. However, Kielce’s audience always cope, from what I observe every day. This cheering helps, I hope that it will help us too.
Who will win the championship?
This is a sport and you can not say who will win. In sport small things now decide: the quality of rest, the disposition of the day, the mental sphere …
I really won’t get you out of a small type?
The heart would like to say that we will win. However, it is a very difficult task, because everything can happen. Germans are definitely strong, they are the current European champion in this category, but also French or Hungarian teams will be strong and you could still mention candidates for medals for a long time. I hope that thanks to this it will be a good tournament.
BY MACIEJ SZAREK