The team of Chile
2018 june 21.
Coach: Inaki Aniz
Key Players: Valeska Lovera (Right Back), Catalina Moreno (Pivot)
Qualification for Hungary 2018: 2018 Women’s Junior Pan American Championship, Goiania (BRA) – Runners-up
History in Tournament: 1977-2014: DNQ, 2016: 22nd
“Without a doubt, I can say that the motivation that this achievement has brought to the team is just incredible,” said former Chile coach Miguel Angel Interllige in 2016 when asked about the effect of the first-ever IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship qualification of their national team. Two years after, Chile were runners-up at the 2018 Pan American Championship in Goiania, Brazil, and claimed a spot once again.
At the continental competition in March Chile defeated Uruguay 33:20, Dominican Republic 39:19 and Argentina 31:26. They lost to Brazil 28:14 and to Paraguay 28:25. Apart from the results, they were able to show a promising handball which was even surprising for the Argentineans, who paid an expensive price for that loss as they were not able to claim a World Championship ticket after six consecutive appearances.
“We intend to play as well as we can, to continue developing the handball we have been training for more than one year and we will try to improve the 22nd rank of Slovakia 2016,” explained coach Inaki Aniz.
For Hungary 2018, Aniz can count on the experience of four players who performed both at the last IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship and the Junior World Championship in Russia. Those four players are centre back Rocio Gomez – who scored 31 goals at the Junior and 17 at the Youth World Championship –, left wing Catalina Castro, right wing Valentina Perez, and line player Catalina Moreno. Many of the members of the squad are already representing Chile at senior competitions – Valeska Lovera, for example, scored 18 goals at the 2017 Women’s Pan American Championship while Francisca Parra netted 11 times.
“Their experience may help us, but the main thing for us is not to set an extraordinary goal,” declares Spanish-born coach Aniz. As a bonus, nine players of the junior squad participated in the Cochabamba 2018 South American Games at the end of May – a useful experience for their World Championship preparation.
“I know that we will suffer physically because there is a difference and in terms of the rhythm of play,” believes the trainer. “Defensively, we are good in the continental context and we will have to be precise with the counter-attacks. Other strong points for us are the 9-metre throw, playing with the pivot and using our wings. In addition, we know which tournament we are about to face, without high expectations. We will try to play on an equal footing and then we will see what happens.”
To get ready for the IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship, Chile will have a training camp from 12-25 June with two daily sessions, where they will play friendly matches against male teams. On the 28th they will travel to Hungary.
Group at Hungary 2018:
Group B: Russia, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, China, Chile, Iceland
Games at Hungary 2018:
All times local
Monday 2 July: SLO-CHI (20:00)
Tuesday 3 July: CHI-RUS (18:00)
Thursday 5 July: CHN-CHI (14:00)
Friday 6 July: KOR-CHI (16:00)
Sunday 8 July: CHI-ISL (10:00)