23 January 2017
With a lot of luck, Spain clinched their berth for the quarter-finals at France 2017 by beating Brazil 28:27 in Montpellier on Saturday. Experienced right wing Victor Tomas (31, World Champion 2013, three-time Champions League winner) now hopes that their medal dream continues. Besides, the “once Barcelona, always Barcelona” team captain of the Champions League record winners talks about the changes since Jordi Ribera has been the new Spanish head coach.
Did you expect the eighth-final against Brazil to be so close?
Victor Tomas: “We knew about the strength of Brazil, and we knew that they would manage to keep up their powerful defence system for at least the first half. In the second half, they became tired, but it was really hard for us to profit from it. But this is sport anything can happen. Each player has two arms and two legs each, there is no one special. And Brazil really played on a high level.”
How do you rate the chances to beat Croatia?
Victor Tomas: “They have a very experienced team, who know to play big and important matches. They count on a highly cooperative defence, and in attack, Domagoj Duvnjak is their clear leader, though he did not play that much in this tournament. It will be decisive, how our defence works, how our goalkeeper saves and whether we can manage to get some nice counter attacks going.”
But this is not your final goal, to make it to the semi-finals?
Victor Tomas: No. Of course, when you play a tournament like this, you want to win a medal. Now we are one step closer to it.
Since September, Jordi Ribera is your new coach. What has changed compared when you compare everything with how Manuel Cadenas worked?
Victor Tomas: “You cannot change that much in this short period. Of course, little things changed and were adapted, but there is still this general style of Spanish handball. We play it in the same way with some changes and some new players.”
One “new arrival” in your staff is team manager Iker Romero, your former Barcelona teammate. How is it to have him in this new role?
Victor Tomas: “It is quite funny. But also in this position, Iker is a good guy and works very well.”