Handball can sometimes be a rollercoaster of emotions and that was definitely there to be seen in Group D of the EHF EURO 2018.
But no other team experienced such contrasting emotions as the Czech Republic. After losing by a record 17-goal margin against Spain, 32:15, the Czech side snatched one of their most important wins in the competition, a 28:27 bombshell over Denmark.
While Ondrej Zdrahala and youngster Stanislav Kasparek carried the load in attack, scoring 14 times between them, half of the Czech Republic’s 28 goals, it was goalkeeper Martin Galia who stole the show in defence.
Facing superstars like Mikkel Hansen, Rasmus Lauge or Hans Lindberg, Galia had one of the best games of his life, with a 17-save outing, that propelled him to the third place in the top goalkeepers ranking.
“The feelings after our victory against the Danish team were indescribable. We won a big match and all of us had an enormous joy,” said an emotional Galia after stopping the Danish attack.
With a 41% save percentage, Galia is only trailing Swedish shot stopper Mikkael Appelgren, who is leading the field with 44% and Jannick Green, the Danish goalkeeper who boasts a 43%.
"My save percentage or the number of save I made are not important, it was a big win of our whole team, my performance was just one small thing in this big win," said the 38-year old goalkeeper.
Galia, who plies his trade in the Polish league for Gornik Zabrze, was modest after the final whistle.
"We have two points after this win. In two days, we will play against another difficult opponent like we did today. Hungary is a big favourite in this match, but we will try to play as good as today and win that game too," added Galia.
“From the perspective of Wednesday's game our stunning victory against Denmark will be a two-edged knife, as on one hand it has filled us with abundance of self-confidence, but on the other hand it will not be easy to prepare the players to perform on the same level,” concluded the 39-year old goalkeeper.
The Czech team could find themselves out of contention if they lose against Hungary, while Spain and Denmark are already through to the main round of the EHF EURO 2018.