Denmark’s long, hard route to the medals

INTERVIEW: Danish goalkeeper Althea Reinhardt talks about virtual support from the outside world, cooperation with Sandra Toft and goals for the next matches

Althea Reinhardt is backing up Denmark's number 1 goalkeeper Sandra Toft in the main round. Photo © Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

They are still living their medal dream, but they know that a tough job is ahead of them. After their 20:23 defeat in the defence clash against France in the final match of the preliminary round, EHF EURO 2020 hosts Denmark start their main round campaign against their neighbours Sweden on Friday, followed by matches against Olympic champions Russia and World Championship 2019 runners-up Spain.

Taking just two points to the next stage is not ideal, but goalkeeper Althea Reinhardt is quite confident that the Danes still can fight for a place in the semi-finals.

ehf-euro.com: What did you and your teammates learn from the defeat against France?

Althea Reinhardt: This was a true defence game, and definitely we learnt that we must have a better focus on the attack. We will analyse this part of the game for the upcoming matches.

ehf-euro.com: So, the Danish defence is stable enough for the main round clashes?

Althea Reinhardt: I guess the defence played well, but of course, we are not only looking at the attack now. We face tough teams with different ways of playing, so we have to have an individual way of preparation. The main round will be hard, but we hope to take the best of it.

ehf-euro.com: Will the match against Russia be the key?

Althea Reinhardt: Of course, Russia are a really strong team, but the first focus of course will be on Sweden. We know them well, they know us. We will try to play our style. Russia and Spain both won medals at the World Championship 2019, and they are really good.

ehf-euro.com: Since 2004, Danish women teams have not won any medals at EHF EURO events. Has the time now come?

Althea Reinhardt: It is our dream for fight for a medal at home, but the way there is really hard and long and we should not talk too early about the end of the way, but what is coming next. We prepare well step-by-step, and then we can see in the end if it worked.

ehf-euro.com: You share the position in goal with Sandra Toft – how is the relationship and the cooperation between the both of you?

Althea Reinhardt: We have a perfect relationship, we support each other, we try to profit from each other, and I try to help her as much as I can, so it really works well.

ehf-euro.com: What is contact with the outside world like when you live in a bubble. Are you and your teammates getting a lot of feedback from fans and families virtually?

Althea Reinhardt: Our team has an Instagram account, and we get many nice, sweet posts from the fans. It is great to see this support and how people cheer for us, even if they are not in the arena.

ehf-euro.com: After the World Championship 2019 your coach changed from Klavs Bruun Jørgensen to Jesper Jensen – what is different since then?

Althea Reinhardt: Jesper is doing a really good job with the team, he is experienced and knows what to do. But in general, we did not spend much time together due to the pandemic. Therefore, his main job is and was to build a base and to focus on certain special points, as you cannot change 20 things at the same time. And after this base is built, we work on different details now. So everything is in progress.

written by Björn Pazen / jh