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Date: 12/17/2013

Never before, a single country was represented by four coaches in quarter-final matches of World Championships. Now this record was broken by Denmark. Jan Pytlick (Denmark), Kim Rasmussen (Poland), Heine Jensen (Germany) and Morten Soubak (Brazil) led their teams among the best eight of the Women’s World Championship in Serbia.

“This is a great result for the Danish handball and the Danish Handball Federation, it proves that our handball school is successful,” says Ulrik Wilbek, men’s national team coach and sports director of the Danish Handball Federation (DHF).

So especially the second quarter-final in Novi Sad on Wednesday (18 December) will be spiced by “Danish dynamite”, when the Danes face Germany with their Danish born coach Heine Jensen.  “He is doing a great job, he lifted the German team after their failure at the 2011 World Championship to the top,” Danish coach Jan Pytlick praises his counterpart.

But Pytlick is not that satisfied with this constellation: “Danish coaches know all our players, they know our tactics, they know everything about us.” But the fixtures Denmark vs. Germany guarantees that at least one Danish coach will be in the semi-final. And if Brazil beat Hungary in Belgrade on the same day, it is even guaranteed that a Danish coach will sit on the bench at the final – as the winner of both quarters face in the semi.

“Morten Soubak was my assistant in younger days, I know him very well. He is extremely improving the Brazilian team,” Wilbek says, and Pytlick adds: “All those three Danish coaches have extra-ordinary skills. They build up team structures on and off the court and they inject our Scandinavian winners’mentality.” All of this quartet have a huge respect for each other: “We played against Poland – and the team clearly carries the thumbprint of Kim Rasmussen. They eliminated Sweden in the qualification, they eliminated Romania in the eighth-finals, there’s nothing more to say about the development of this team since the arrival of Kim,” Soubak rates his colleague Rasmussen, and: “The Danish way of handball coaching is on the run, proved by the results in Serbia.”

And Wilbek especially hopes for more successes, mainly by the Danish team: “Women’s handball in Denmark is struggling hard to keep its position against women’s football. To be in the semi-finals would be a great impetus in our country, which currently is handball-crazy because of hosting the men’s European championship in January 2014.”

And 23 months later, the Danish Handball federation will be the organizer of the next Women’s World Championship – another chance for Danish coaches to prove their skills. But before, a Danish quartet dream of the semi-finals, regardless if they coach Denmark or not.