Sedoykina saves, Sedoykina scores

FEATURE: Always excelling as a shot stopper, the Russian goalkeeper had to wait for her fourth EHF EURO tournament to put her name on the scoring sheet

Anna Sedoykina (1) - Women's EHF EURO 2018, preliminary round game - Group B - France - Russia in Palais des sports Jean Weille Nancy, Nancy, France 29.11.2018. Mandatory Credit © Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

Whoever tries to identify the weakest link of Russia’s game at the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 would face a tough job. The Olympic champions lost just one match, against Slovenia when they had already qualified for the main round, and they seem to be invincible no matter the opponent or the handball school they take on.

While Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva mastermind Russia’s offensive play, Anna Sen commands the impregnable defence, which gives a chance to shine for flashy counter-attackers on the wings - Daria Samokhina and Polina Kuznetsova on the left and Iuliia Managarova on the right.

A 33% likelihood that shots will be stopped by Sedoykina

And when some attacks of their foes go through the Russian wall, there is still a 33% likelihood that their shots will be stopped by Anna Sedoykina, who is in a great shape at the EURO. Only Sweden’s Filippa Idehn and Montenegro’s Marina Rajcic can boast more saves (51 and 49 respectively) than the 34-year-old shot stopper from Russia.

With Monday’s more than convincing win against Denmark (32:21), Russia clinched the first spot in the group no matter the results of the final group games on Wednesday. As Group I winners, Russia will meet the second-ranked team from Group II.

Sedoykina contributed with 14 saves and a staggering 41 % save rate and for the first time in her EHF EURO career also scored a goal.

“It was not my first goal in my sporting career, but I am still glad it went in. Perhaps, I can still add one more,” said the Rostov-Don goalkeeper, who is currently at her fourth EURO. In total, she has already scored five in international matches for Russia. In the last minutes of the game she even had a chance to hit the empty Danish net for the second time, but that time around the defence came back just in time to prevent another goal.

“We knew exactly what was going to wait for us: a tough game. We tried to prepare for the match as good as we could, we analysed their play and fortunately we managed to achieve all the things we wanted to,” commented Sedoykina.

Not looking towards semi-finals yet

While eight other teams are still in a big race for the semi-final tickets, Russia can already look towards the semi-final. However, they are not doing that yet, according to their No. 1 in goal.

“No, we don’t look that far. We still have to take on Sweden and it does not matter we are already in the semi-final. It would be too early to talk about the semi-finals now. We don’t even want to think about which other teams could make it to the semi-finals. There is always the right time for it and it has yet to come,” she strictly refrained from speculating about Friday’s semi-finals. 

“The atmosphere in the team is really good. We are helping and supporting each other, we prepare like one team and fight like one team. We have our common goal and are heading towards it,” she added.

Anna Vyakhireva, who also had an excellent game against Denmark, praised her club teammate from Rostov:

"Not just against Denmark. She is important in every game and she is doing a really great job,” Vyakhireva said. “I am very glad and really proud. Everyone in the team is proud to have such a good goalkeeper with us. In defence we have a wall behind us that can protect us.”

written by Vlado Brindzak / ew