Nikola Karabatic announces his return from injury against Germany in the quarterfinals of the World Cup: “I will be ready to play”



After two matches in the stands (due to a bruised left foot), are you ready to play in the quarter-finals against Germany?
Today no, it’s tomorrow (Wednesday). Wednesday I will be ready to play.

Do you still have foot pain?
Yes, I’m still in pain but it’s okay. We are all used to playing in pain and clenching our teeth. So far it was fine, I had pain nowhere, I was rather happy to have made this beginning of the year without too much pain. But that’s how it is in the life of a top athlete and especially of handball players when you have so many matches.

Even at 38 and for your tenth World Cup, do you miss not being able to be on the pitch during such a competition?
Yes, we realize at that moment how much we miss it, how hard it is to be in the stands and not on the field with teammates, friends to fight and win matches. I missed it and I’m happy to be able to play again.

Is the hunger for titles still there at 38?
I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

“It may be my last match of a World Cup but that doesn’t worry me too much. »

The next World Cup will be in 2025, you say you cannot plan for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Do you think that this quarter-final could be your last match in a World Championship?
I don’t think about it at all. That this is my last World Cup is not really something exceptional because behind I have the possibility of participating in a Euro (in 2024) and maybe the Olympics. It’s not like it was my last competition. There, I might have thought of that. tomorrow (Wednesday), it’s not supposed to be my last match for the France team, there will be others. It may be my last match of a World Cup but that doesn’t worry me too much.

From the height of your experience, what should you do or not do before approaching a quarter-final, the first knockout?
There are a lot of things not to do: individually not to play the match before the hour, not to lose your means, not to play being afraid of doing badly because it’s a knockout match, where you no longer has a safety net. Then, you have to play well tactically, analyze the opponents well.

“We have young people in the team but they all play in big clubs, even if when you wear the jersey of the France team, it is still a different weight. »

In the team there are some less experienced players, do you feel they can play the match before the hour?
I do not think so. We have young people in the team but they all play in big clubs, even if when you wear the jersey of the France team, it is still a different weight. Most play in the Champions League, have already played important matches, they have this experience. Afterwards of course with the blue jersey, the pressure is increased tenfold but I don’t worry.

How do you view Juri Knorr, the centre-half, Germany’s centrepiece?
We watched his game against Norway (Monday, loss 28-26) where he played very well. We see that he is capable of doing everything, shooting, one-on-one, playing with the pivot. The whole German game revolves around him. This will be one of the keys. But they didn’t get to this stage just because they have this player. They have a revamped but very successful team. Andreas Wolff (guardian) also plays very well. They defend well too. »



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