SpainCoach: Alberto Suarez
Alberto Suarez believes “the competitive spirit and the defensive strength” are the best weapons Spain will present in North Macedonia. And to become world champions they will have to intensify them.
Suarez and Spain were close to claiming the trophy at the last IHF Men’s Youth World Championship in Georgia two years ago. This new generation has the same ambitions. “Spain always dream of the highest, therefore our goal is to try and win the World Championship,” affirms the coach. “Our work and also the work from our opponents will put us in the place we deserve.”
In Group A, Spain will face Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, Chile and Saudi Arabia. “Undoubtedly, it is a tough group in which it’s going to be hard to qualify and we aim to finish as high as possible to look for favourable crosses.”
In view of their first Youth World Championship game versus Saudi Arabia on 6 August, the Spaniards were training at home in three different phases of 10 days each. Overall 40 court sessions and four international friendly matches versus Slovakia and Hungary were on the programme.
Unfortunately for the Hispanos, they will not be able to use Eduardo Calle due to a knee injury – the Barça left back was their top scorer at the 2018 U18 EURO with 30 goals. However, they also have worth-seeing athletes in other positions, such as Ander Izquierdo or Alex Pascual.
Helvetia Anaitasuna playmaker Izquierdo recorded 24 goals at the 2018 European Championship and will try to pull the strings of the team at North Macedonia 2019. And on the left wing they will surely benefit from Pascual’s strong right arm and his precise shots – something Barça’s first team might start enjoying soon as well.
Key players: Ander Izquierdo Labayen (centre back), Alex Pascual Garcia (left wing)
Qualification for North Macedonia 2019: 2018 Men’s U18 EURO, Croatia – 5th place
History in tournament: 2005: DNQ, 2007: 7th, 2009: 6th, 2011: 2nd, 2013: 4th, 2015: 4th, 2017: 2nd
Group at North Macedonia 2019: Group A (Croatia, Spain, Slovenia, Norway, Chile, Saudi Arabia)