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Tokyo. On Saturday, Mikkel Hansen and the Danish handball masters begin the title defense in the Olympic handball tournament in Tokyo.
The reigning Olympic champions are in the opening match against Japan, and the goal is again to reach far.
However, national coach Nikolaj Jacobsen must state that his team has in recent years had difficulty performing well in two tournaments in a row. And when Denmark won the World Cup in January, the trend points towards a bad tournament in Tokyo.
– We must have some talk on the team about how we get beyond the Denmark syndrome with – I do not want to say disappoint, but not to perform well for the next tournament, says Nikolaj Jacobsen.
– It is about the mental, and I am excited to see where we stand for a mentally demanding challenge for an Olympics with a lot of restrictions, says the national coach.
Nikolaj Jacobsen took over the national team after the handball masters in 2016 had won the Olympics in Rio with Gudmundur Gudmundsson as national coach.
Half a year later in January 2017, the team finished in a disappointing tenth place for the World Cup.
The big fluctuations in results have since continued with World Cup gold in 2019, followed by an early exit after the initial group game at the European Championships in 2020. And most recently another World Cup triumph in January 2021.
– It irritates me then that it’s like that right now.
– At the moment we have a hard time playing two tournaments in a row at a high level, says the national coach.
The team’s biggest star, Mikkel Hansen, also senses that there has been a shorter time between the ups and downs.
– The titles have given a lot of faith in our own abilities, but I also think we have an understanding that we do not have to play much below level before we lose to teams in the top-eight or maybe even the top-10.
– It is there that the level is gradually. There are many good teams, and if you do not deliver the goods, then there are others who take our place, says Mikkel Hansen.
Denmark tests the Olympic form against France on Wednesday, before it kicks off in the group stage on Saturday. Here, Japan, Egypt, Bahrain, Portugal and Sweden await in the initial group game.
/ ritzau /
Source: www.berlingske.dk by www.berlingske.dk.
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