Training, eating, tactic sessions

EHF EURO BLOG: Our journalist Mie Oestergaard talked to Croatia's Ivan Nincevic about what his daily schedule during EHF EURO looks like

Photo: Brian Lindberg Jensen

I had a chance to talk to Croatia's left wing Ivan Nincevic.

It was at a training session that started slowly with the players rolling around on things that mostly look like a gymnastic tool, when Croatia's head coach Slavko Goluza approached and told me that I'm more than welcome to talk to Nincevic, who he deems the funniest in his team.

Finally I'm talking to a player, who does not make me feel like a small person, as he is 'only' 1,84 metres tall.

However, that's still 20 centimetres taller than me, so I kindly ask Nincevic to take a seat, before he politely greets me with his perfect English.

We talk through his experience at other international tournaments and even though he is impressed by the hosting city Copenhagen, one tournament still stands as the biggest and greatest for him: the World Championship 2009 in Croatia.

"The EHF EURO in Denmark is very nicely organised and everything seems to work well, but the World Championship in 2009 is still the best international tournament I've ever been to.

"I might say this because we had the home advantage and it was such an experience to play there."

Talking about home advantage, it is impossible not to mention their match against Sweden on Friday when Sweden's fans will without doubt take up most of the space in the sold-out Brondby Hallen.

"Sweden is not far from here and I'm 100 per cent sure that 90 per cent of the hall will be Swedish people, but we are used to the scenes like this.

"It is always better playing in front of lots of people than in an empty sports hall. That's the exciting thing about handball," the 32-year-old left back tells me.

There has not been much time for him to enjoy well-known sights such as Christiania, the autonomous neighbourhood in Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid or the Christianshavn quarter in the centre of Copenhagen.

With the entire team focussing on their EHF EURO campaign, the players relax as much as possible in the team hotel, sometimes 'battling' each other on the PlayStation.

"Unfortunately, we haven't had time to go and see Copenhagen. I have been here before and therefore I know it is a very beautiful city and I hoped we would have more time to see it.

"There is not much time to have fun, however we play basketball tournaments on the playstation in the hotel, that is the most fun we have.

"When the coach says we can, we always play football at training, we are all good at football and basketball, that's how you recognise that we are from Croatia."

written by Mie Oestergaard, EHF Journalist