Hansen: “It’s always hard against Sweden”

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16 January 2017

Not looking down on the level of Denmark’s first opponents (Argentina and Egypt), Mikkel Hansen is even more wary of Sweden, which is “a young team” that he expects to “give it their all”.

You were able to rotate the bench during your first two games, was it your main objective?

Mikkel Hansen: “Yeah, of course. We played two games (wins against Argentina 33:22 and versus Egypt 35:28), all the players could play, at least a bit. And everyone has done something great, scored a goal, a decisive pass, a good action in defence.”

Rene Toft Hansen was back against Egypt. How did you experience this episode (Kiel’s pivot having missed the first game due to a non-homologation of his elbow’s protection)?

Mikkel Hansen: “His return is something positive because in defence, he is very important for us. It was a big surprise for all of us when we heard the news. It was really weird for the whole group. In addition, we had done all the preparation with him playing at the middle of our defence. So I think everyone was a little… (hesitates) not shocked, but sad. But now he is there. And he played as usual, he was strong in defence. That’s his type of game and we like it.”

Do you consider the upcoming match against Sweden (this Monday at 20:45) as your first real test?

Mikkel Hansen: “No, the first tests were the first matches. Because I think we beat two teams that played well, Argentina and Egypt. Against Sweden, it’s going to be difficult, that’s for sure. They are a team who is a bit young because many players stopped playing for the national team. But it’s always hard to play against them. All the young players will give it their all.”

Since the beginning of the competition, a lot of Danish fans are cheering for you you at Paris’ AccorHotels Arena. Do you feel it’s like playing at home?

Mikkel Hansen: “Of course! And even more so because we’re playing in Paris. It’s always fun when you play at home. Having these fans, who brought a great atmosphere during the first two games, is a real pleasure for everyone I think.”

Have you had time to watch the matches of the other favorites, especially those of the French team?

Mikkel Hansen: “Yes, a bit. I think all the best teams started well. It’s hard for Luka (Karabatic, who is suffering from torn ankle ligaments and will be out for the rest of the competition). I played a EURO Championship at home, we all know it’s something super big. I’m sad for him, it’s always difficult to see a guy like him being injured. I saw what happened and it was tough to watch.”