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Fifth place is a big incentive for Richard Budo

Fifth place is a big incentive for Richard Budo

For shot putter Richard Bodó, the Hungarian men's handball team's fifth-place finish at the European Olympic Qualifying Championship on Friday is a big incentive.

“We are already a bit tired, but I think this is normal, because our eighth match is coming. We have difficulty sleeping after the matches, and we cannot even rest without watching the matches anymore, and even during the break the matches are on our minds,” – the Szeged player told MTI. Thursday.

The Hungarian national team qualified – for the first time in its history – from the group stage with a 100% performance, and finished the semi-finals with one win and three losses, ranking third in its group, and will play against Slovenia. For fifth place in Cologne on Friday from 15:00. If successful, they will produce their best European Championship performance to date, the record held by the 1998 team which finished sixth.

“I think the team has had an acceptable tournament so far,” Bodo said. “We have been up and down, and this is the opportunity to finish the season well, but everyone is needed for that.”

Richard Bodo, a player of the Hungarian national handball team participating in the European Olympic Qualifying Championship for men, is interviewed by an MTI journalist at the team's residence in Cologne on January 25, 2024. MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi

He added that they should not think about who is tired and who is not, because the Slovenians have played the same number of matches, and they should be tired too.

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“I hope we emerge victorious from the European Championship,” he said. “Fifth place is a big incentive, so we have to work hard and do it somehow.”

According to Bodo, the Slovenian and Hungarian teams are at the same level. Based on matches against each other in recent years, it is believed that similar numbers, tactics and intensity of play can be expected from both teams.

“Based on past matches, the two-man game is one of their strengths, where Alex Vlah and Miha Zarabek, and maybe Dean Bomback, can move the ball very quickly up front and get into their positions,” Bodo explained.

He added that they are also preparing his Szeged teammate, striker Borut Makovcic. According to his hopes, their tactics would work this time as well, because their defense so far had been very stable, and this was sometimes accompanied by excellent goalkeeping performances.

Photo: MTI/Zsolt CzeglédiPhoto: MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi

Budo has scored 16 goals from 35 shots so far. As he said, the European Championships started out very difficult for him, but he felt he could improve. Although he is not satisfied with his performance, he has made a big step compared to the level he was at.

On Thursday, the European Union published a list of candidates for the Dream Team squad for the tournament, which included three Hungarians: right winger Gabor Anksen, full-back Bence Panhedi, and defense specialist Adrian Sibos. You can vote in the EHF smartphone app until 1pm on Sunday. Forty percent of fans and sixty percent of EHF expert votes make up the final list.

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