Radičević looks ahead to Russia clash
In their first international matches since finishing a disappointing 10th at the World Championships, Montenegro’s women’s team gathered in Podgorica to plot a return to winning ways in the EHF EURO 2012 qualification matches with victories over rivals Russia in Round 3 and 4.
After the first two rounds, Montenegro and Russia are both unbeaten with two wins each. Montenegro defeated Great Britain at home (34:18), and secured an away win over Poland (31:27).
Györ and Montenegro right winger Jovanka Radičević talked to ehf-euro.com about the next two games with Russia.
ehf-euro.com: You've started the EHF EURO 2012 qualification with two wins. But now you are preparing for two games against a stronger opponent, Russia. The next two matches could prove crucial, so what are your ambitions?
Jovanka Radičević: After bad results and poor performances at the World Championships in Brazil, we want to show against Russia that our team has great quality. In every game we go for victory, and a triumph on Wednesday would put us just one step away from the EHF EURO finals in the Netherlands. I'm sure we can make it because we are very motivated, and the spirit in the team is excellent. We know each other very well, everything works great among us and I am convinced that we will be back on track and play much better than in Brazil.
ehf-euro.com: You played Russia in the qualification matches for EHF EURO 2010 in Denmark and Norway. In Podgorica the result was tied (28:28), while in Chekhov, Montenegro won 31:28. You also played at the last Women's EHF European Championships, when you won 24:22. Finally, you met Russia at a tournament in Paris in November when Russia won 35:30. What do you expect this time?
Jovanka Radičević: We know very well that the Russians won almost everything, they have great players! We have met several times and we are aware that they play very quickly and very well as they have great backs, wings and goalkeepers. In every position they have at least two good players.
ehf-euro.com: So, what is the key for success in the first game at home?
Jovanka Radičević: The key is to stop giving Russia easy goals, because they score a lot from counter attacks. If we reduce that to a minimum and give 100 per cent of ourselves, I think the result will come.
ehf-euro.com: After almost a year playing with Hungarian champions Györ, you are back in Podgorica, your home city. On Wednesday, for the first time since you left Budućnost, you will play in Morača hall, where you played a lot of matches. How do you feel about that?
Jovanka Radičević: I am always happy when I get back to Morača, to my home, when I meet girls with whom I have played for many years. And I always have some extra motivation when I play for the national team. Every time I feel something special inside myself, probably because all the players play for Montenegro with huge desire. Finally, I don’t think this will be my last match in Morača this season, since I believe Budućnost and Györ deserve to play this year’s EHF Women's Champions League final.
Article update: Due to a minor injury to her left shoulder, left back Marija Jovanović is set to miss both games with Russia.
Find more information on the Women's EHF EURO 2012 Qualification HERE.
View more detailed information on the event on the Official EHF EURO 2012 Website.
TEXT: Saša Jončić