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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Switzerland v Italy - Preview

Today’s opener in the Women’s Four Nations Handball tournament here at the impressive ECHO Arena in Liverpool sees the Swiss take on the Italians this afternoon (throw-off at 2.30pm), ahead of the GB v Portugal match-up tonight at 6.30pm.

Recent form suggests that the Swiss are the strongest side here as they were the only team to win any of their matches in the recent EHF European Championship qualification competition, beating Portugal both home (28-25) and away (27-17) in March and April in Group 1.

Italy will be wary of Swiss left-back Nicole Dinkel who plays for Frisch auf Göppingen in Germany, and who poses a real threat to all the teams over the next three days. Swiss centre-back Nadja Wälti is a team mate of GB Goalkeeper Laura Innes at LK Zug, and Swiss pivot Arienne Geissman who plays her club handball alongside Holly Lam-Moores in Aarhus, Denmark.

Players from the Swiss national team play in some of the strongest leagues in Europe with players playing in the Danish and German leagues, but the majority of the Swiss team play for Lucerne-based side Spono Nottwil Handball team who provide five of the named squad.

The Italians meanwhile lost all six of their EHF European Championship Group 4 qualification games but were unlucky to lose at home to Slovenia by two and to Belarus by four. However, left-back Silvia Scamperele freely scored for the Italians during the campaign and will be one to watch.

The Italians, with the exception of right-back Francesca Marsano who plays in Slovakia, all play in the Italian Campionato Nazionale and Sardinian side HC Sassari have the most club players in the national side with six of the 16 named players.

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