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09.05.2017, 13:39◄ last page     

TALKING-POINTS: There were so many talking points that we decided to break from our typical format: here, we present the five most important personalities from the thriller in Budapest.

Five talking points after the incredible TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4

There are so many talking points after this year’s TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 that it seems impossible to pick only five.

You could talk about the electric atmosphere, previously unknown in women’s competitions, or the fact that Győr’s thrilling clash with Vardar could be considered the best final ever. Indeed, you could talk about how the overwhelming success of the event bodes well for future events in Budapest.

Thus, we decided to break from our typical format, and present the five personalities of the FINAL4 that stood out. This is still no easy task, but lets give it a shot, shall we?

Anja Althaus

What a performance from the German legend in the final! Althaus was Vardar’s most important defender, and her perfect shooting record (six goals from six shots) speaks volumes about her contribution to the Macedonian teams’ excellent performance.

The German line player, who has lifted many trophies throughout her career - including the Champions League trophy itself in 2009 - was determined to claim the throne once again but had to settle for silver this time.

She announced her retirement after the final, and those who were present at the press conference will never forget how she struggled to finish her sentence. It was a moving image: one of the toughest defenders in the game unable to hold back her tears.

Thanks for an amazing performance, Anja, you will be sorely missed!

Nora Mørk

Although handball is a physical game, mental composure is key to success.

The Norwegian right back, and Győr’s top scorer, Nora Mørk did not have particularly strong FINAL4. She finished the semi-final with one goal (from four shots) and she seemed to be struggling at points in the final as well. At key points in the match Mørk made some crucial mistakes as she gave the ball away. If Győr were to lose, she would have had to ask some serious questions to herself.

Nevertheless, Mørk kept her calm and in extra time she became a crucial figure by scoring the most important goal of the game after an individual effort. While she did not have a great FINAL4 overall, when it mattered, she delivered.

Irina Dibirova

What an outstanding team Vardar have become in a year!

Yes, they were strong before, having claimed bronze medals in all previous FINAL4 tournaments, but there is a big difference between that team, and the one that came agonisingly close to winning the title for the first time.

Indeed, Vardar did more than just reaching the final. There was practically no difference in terms of strength between the Macedonian powerhouse and the eventual winners. It is safe to say that the Vardar Project, with coach Irina Dibirova at the helm, is paying off. They are no longer merely a “good team” but true title contenders.

Zsuzsanna Tomori

Did you know that Győr let right back Zsuzsanna Tomori go a couple of months ago? It had taken her more than a year to recover from a serious knee injury, and after this she struggled to find form. Thus, the club announced that she was free to go.

However, as if this was the wakeup call she had been waiting for, Tomori started to gather momentum after the announcement, and by the time the FINAL4 started Ambros Martín had found her a place on the court.

She was moved from her favoured central defender role to the right back position. In the semi-final, she came up against Cristina Neagu, who finished with seven goals. Tomori got a red card, but her role in the match was still crucial. The Romanian superstar Neagu was reduced to a mediocre 47 percent attack efficiency due to Tomori.

Tomori even scored three goals in the final. It is safe to say that Győr’s managers are now thinking how foolish it would have been to let her go.

Anita Görbicz

Ladies and gentlemen: her majesty, the Queen of handball. She was a strong candidate for MVP of the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 as Görbicz proved she was a key player even when deployed as a winger.

With her sixteen-goal tally she was Győr’s most prolific player in the FINAL4. Further, she did not miss a single penalty the entire weekend. This proved crucial as Vardar missed one penalty in the final, a match that was won by a one-goal margin.

Görbicz doesn’t want to be a winger. She is excellent in that position, but she thinks of herself as a playmaker. Despite this, she didn’t put Ambros Martín under pressure for his choice but set out to prove she can be a decisive figure from the wing, too.

Görbicz understood that with Heidi Löke gone, Martín needed her on the wing, so she sacrificed her own ambitions for the good of the team. While Nycke Groot was an excellent choice for MVP, for many supporters, Görbicz was the best.

Check out her goal which featured in our Top 5 goals of the FINAL4 below.

TEXT: Bence Mártha/kc

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