The Czech Republic are confident that they can grab all four points at stake when they meet Ukraine in the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification on 3 and 6 May.
The team currently heads Group 4 with two points, however the pole position only comes courtesy of the Czech’s goal difference as FYR Macedonia, Iceland and Ukraine have two points as well. No other group in this qualification campaign is more competitive.
“We are expecting physical matches. Ukraine defeated Iceland. They are playing a different style of handball. Their players are tall and strong. We need to stay compact,” says Czech Republic coach Daniel Kubeš.
A player of interest in the squad that Kubeš nominated together with his co-head coach Jan Filip is without doubt Dieudonné Mubenzem.
The Dukla Prague player impressed in the play-offs of the Czech league and his goals helped Prague to reach the final against Plzen.
His rise to the top and into the focus of the national team comes only two months after he recovered from a knee injury.
“A couple of months ago I wouldn’t have believed it that I would get to play for the national team. I did not play the qualification for the Junior World Championships. It was very difficult for me,” he said. “The most important was that my club supported me and gave me enough time to recover.”
Mubenzem is regarded as future hope for Czech handball.
“To play for my country is a big honour for me. There is a big difference between the Czech Extraliga and international matches. I’m looking forward to training with so many good players.
“I will take every role in the national team and give my best,” said the 21-year-old.
Czech squad for the matches against Ukraine
Goalkeepers: Martin Galia (Górnik Zabrze, POL), Tomáš Mrkva (HBW Balingen-Weilstentten, GER)
Back players: Tomáš Babák (Bergischer HC, GER), Roman Bečvář (SC DHfK Leipzig, GER), Pavel Horák (HC Erlangen, GER), Petr Linhart (Fenix Toulouse, FRA), Jan Stehlík (St.Raphaël VAR HB, FRA), Milan Škvaøil (Talent Robstav-M.A.T. Plzeò), Ondøej Zdráhala (TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen, SUI), Dieudonné Mubenzem (HC Dukla Praha), Jakub Sviták (HC Dukla Praha), Jan Landa (HK FCC Mìsto Lovosice)
Wingers: Jakub Hrstka (Tatran Prešov, SVK), Miroslav Jurka (St.Raphaël VAR HB, FRA), Jan Sobol (Azoty Pulawy, POL), Jiøí Motl (HK FCC Mìsto Lovosice)
Line players: Leoš Petrovský (Azoty Pulawy, POL), Petr Šlachta (HC ROBE Zubøí), Štìpán Zeman (HC ROBE Zubøí), Adam Gøešek (Pepino SKP Frýdek-Místek)