For several decades Poland have always ranked somewhere between fifth and 12th at European and World Championships, but since 2007 these feats had eluded them.
However, by eliminating EHF EURO 2010 silver medallists Sweden in June last year in the play-offs for the World Championship 2013 in Serbia where they eventually came fourth, Poland proved that they are back on the international scene. The result was the best in the history of Polish women's handball and they added to it by qualifying for their first EHF EURO event in eight years.
Many players of the current squad celebrated their Women’s EHF Champions League debut with Lublin in the 2012/13 season, while others have already managed to find top addresses abroad like Karolina Kudlacz who plays for German side HC Leipzig or Kinga Byzdra who joined 2012 Champions League winners Buducnost last year with whom she came second at this year’s MVM EHF FINAL4.
The 29-year old back court player and national team captain is one of the most recognisable players in the modern history of Polish women’s handball. Playing for HC Leipzig in the German Bundesliga and the Women’s EHF Champions League, she is great attacker, being strong and fast and always dangerous with her fierce shots.
"We can really achieve a lot, but we have to stay focused against each opponent,” she says about the EHF EURO 2014. “We have nothing to lose; we want to show the world that we know how to be victorious."
At 25 Kinga Byzdra is one of the younger players in Polish national team, but she has nevertheless already amassed plenty of experience. After many successful years with MKS Zaglebie Lubin, she transferred to 2012 Women’s EHF Champions League winners Buducnost Podgorica at the beginning of the 2013/2014 season.
In Podgorica she is a defense specialist, but she also knows how to play in attack if necessary. "After a great tournament in Serbia, where we finished fourth at the World Championship 2013, we know we can compete and win against the best in the world.
"Our plans for the upcoming tournament are to enjoy every match and focus on improving our game in order to perform on an even higher level than last year," she says.&nb
THE COACH - Kim Rasmussen
The Danish coach Rasmussen has changed the mentality of the Polish players and led them to the first successes in many years. He became the team's head coach in June of 2010 and after a number of rather disappointing years, his team had a breakthrough when they beat Sweden in play-offs for the World Championship 2013.
At the tournament in Serbia in December 2013 Poland went all the way to the semi-finals and eventually finished fourth, and Rasmussen and his players prolonged the joy by qualifying for their first EHF EURO event in eight years with a thrilling win against Czech Republic in the last qualifier in June this year.
"I think we have a great potential and the entire tournament will be another great experience for us with a lot of tough games to play in a short time," says Rasmussen. "We will be looking for our chances in each one of them. If somebody will give us a finger, we will grab the whole hand, we will never let go."
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events