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EHF Final 4| From rookies to champions

Isabella Gulldén

An excited and overwhelmed Carmen Martin bursted into the mixed zone right after having become champion of Europe: “This is something I did not expected”, she said. “I’m still trying to absorb it, this is a title I was definitely looking to achieve, but to be honest, I did not expect this to be such a perfect match for us and that we would be able to overcome everything they were putting us through, with the referees, it was all very complicated. So being able to overcome all of that, playing here in Hungary, being the rookies of the competition, I swear, this is tremendous”. Her endless smile and happiness caught everyone’s attention in that mixed zone.

In the last action of the extra time, it was her who was on the spotlight, after a play that ended  up in a 7 meter throw, that was almost not called by the referees. That late call got on her nerves, but they finally did. And CSM Bucuresti had that one last chance to try and lift the trophy. “Yesterday, when we were thinking of how the game would be, and how things would turn out, I was almost certain that if we would make it to the penalty shootout, we were better. And I knew that Györ are certainly much better than us in certain aspects, but not in this one”. That certainty was not only reflected in her words, but also in her actions, because she was one of the chosen ones in that shootout and she did not look hesitant at all, not for one second. “You keep thinking whether you’re going to score it or not, you think about the fact that there are thousands of people watching, you try to forget about that…”.

The more she talked, the more she kept on praising her teammates and her eyes had a special sparkle that reflected an incalculable excitement. “Isabella Gulldén has been extraordinary with those 14 goals she scored, Jelena Grubisic…well…, Mayssa Pessoa had very few minutes but in the moments she was on court, she had an amazing performance…and I think our defense was able to keep calm in many moments of the match, even when we were losing by two with only three minutes left to be played. That goal by Oana (Manea) and then the penalty, have given us life and, well, I just couldn’t be happier”.

But only a few meters away from Carmen Martin’s exuberant smile, Anita Görbicz bursted into tears in front of a camera. She apologized and tried to calm down. In the meantime, Györ’s coach Ambros Martin tried to find the words to describe the heartbreaking moment they had just lived: “First of all, even in the defeat, I have to congratulate my team and my players. I think not only today, but the entire season they made a fantastic job and in this moment it’s very difficult, very hard to accept a defeat like this, because we lost the Final 4, we don’t have the third title, it goes to Bucharest, but we didn’t lose the match. Not the 60 minutes nor the extra time, and it’s really painful to lose this in this way, but we have to be really proud of our players, of our fight, but I’m really disappointed because of the result of this game today”.

The curtain closes one more time at the end of one of the World’s most spectacular handball events. It is a wrap up, and a list of all the marvellous things that occurred on the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sportarena are left behind, a scenario where history has been made yet again. We leave behind a magnificent end for this story, an unexpected one, but a quite spectacular one. And as we leave all of this behind, a new countdown for the next season starts right off.

Original text by: Nagore Odriozola

Translation by: Laura Agena

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