Two very disappointed teams, Poland and Iceland, will meet in the bronze medal match. One of them will collect a medal, whereas the other will say farewell to EHF EURO 2010 with fourth place, and empty handed.
Poland had high hopes before the championship, and although they never announced that they were going for gold, this was certainly head coach Bogdan Wenta ´s main aim after some great results in world events and during the preparation phase.
After losing the game against Croatia, the players were not particularly talkative and needed some time before giving comments to the media. "We´re too wound up at the moment, we need to recover as quickly as possible if we´re to win the bronze medal and take a medal home," the head coach said.
"The Croats were very clever and now they´re in the final. We knew that they´d slow the game down. It´ll be hard to sleep now without thinking about this defeat," explained a saddened Marcin Lijewski.
The white-reds presented themselves very well in the first half, making few errors and neutralising the offence, the greatest strength of the Croats, allowing them only nine goals. In the last 30 minutes Croatia used a more aggressive defensive system and this was the key to their success.
"We could have beaten Croatia with the same high quality defence as in the first half. Something unexpected happened and we didn´t manage to get back into the game," Füchse Berlin playmaker BartŘ‚omiej Jaszka explained.
"We remember well the defeat against Iceland in the quarter final of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Tomorrow, it´ll be a totally different game, but still a very tough one," continued Jaszka.
The Poles remain confident, at the 2009 World Championship in Croatia they also suffered a disappointing defeat in the semi-final, but the team still went on to deliver a great performance to gain victory in the bronze match.
The Icelandic national team, meanwhile, was very frustrated about its loss to France in the other semi-final. After a few minutes of composure, head coach Gudmund Gudmundsson seemed to be satisfied overall with the outcome of the Championship: "We´re naturally disappointed now, but we´ll get over it quickly. We didn´t manage to give our best against France, but that´s precisely what you must do if you´re to defeat them. We´ll now focus on the bronze medal match and give our utmost."
The key factor for the Icelandic defeat was their very bad start to the second half, where their defence collapsed and seemed, at times, to be almost non-existent. Gudmundsson continued: "Overall, we´re very satisfied with our general performance at the Championship. We´re not done yet though, as anything is possible in the farewell game."
By reaching the semi-final stage, all four teams have directly qualified for the 2011 World Championship in Sweden. "It´s excellent to avoid qualification. It´ll give us certain opportunities to prepare and we´re not under excessive pressure." Gudmundsson explained.
The bronze medal clash starts at 3.00 pm in a sold-out Stadthalle in Vienna.