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17.12.2012, 12:08
Hungary win EHF EURO 2012 bronze medal
«Go back »Print Version


EHF EURO 2014 co-hosts beat Serbia 41:38
 

Hungary win EHF EURO 2012 bronze medal

Bronze medal match
Hungary vs Serbia
41:38 (33:33, 21:19)

Belgrade, Kombank Arena
16 December 2012


Hungary won an epic third-place match against EHF EURO 2012 hosts Serbia after extra time to claim the 16-nation tournament’s bronze medal and draw a standing ovation from their fans as well as from many of the home supporters in Belgrade’s Kombank Arena on Saturday.

The game was a perfect prelude to the final between defending champions Norway and Montenegro as it produced a truly magnificent battle of wits, skill and endurance, with the Hungarians lunging themselves at each other in delight after a strength-sapping 70 minutes of play.

Serbians fans threw a dozen or so heart-shaped cushions on to the court to show appreciation for the home team’s accomplishments in EHF EURO 2012 and they duly responded in the early stages, although Hungary too held their own in the opening exchange of goals.

Two long-range efforts from right back Jelena Popović gave Serbia a 5:4 advantage in the eighth minute after the lead had changed hands several times in a see-saw battle, keeping both sets of vociferous fans in full swing.

A flowing team move garnished with a pair of behind-the-back passes followed by a fast break gave Serbia a 9:6 lead midway through the first half when they had Sanja Damnjanović suspended for two minutes.

Hungary, however, quickly responded with a 4:1 run to get back on level terms, with left back Zsuzsanna Tomori leading the fightback.

Popović again netted when Serbia were short-handed but gaping holes in defence allowed Tomori to fire the Hungarians 12:11 ahead before Damnjanović turned the tide with her first two goals of the match.

While Serbia’s back court shooters were in fine form, Hungary used their wings well and the contrasting styles made for a highly entertaining contest awash with eye-catching moments.

Left wing Melinda Vincze struck twice either side of a penalty save by her goalkeeper Eva Kiss to put Hungary 17:15 in front and they held on to take a two-goal cushion into the dressing room at halftime.

Quick ball movement by Hungary continued to pose problems for Serbia’s static defence but the home team somehow stayed afloat early in the second half thanks to Svetlana Ognjenović’s individual skill.

Sensing that Serbia needed an energy boost, their fans turned on the heat and the team responded with goals from Marina Dmitrović and Katarina Krpež which levelled the score at 24:24 in the 38th minute.

Playmaker Anita Gorbicz kept dispatching Hungary’s seven-metre penalty shots with lethal efficiency and the visitors were again ahead (30:27) midway through the second period, prompting celebrations from their fans in the arena.

Incessant drumbeats by the home supporters kept the home team going in the last 10 minutes and they were within touching distance again (30:31) with seven minutes left, before they forced extra time in a frantic finish after Ognjenović equalised with nine seconds left on the clock.

Biljana Filipović gave Serbia their first lead for a while at the start of extra time, then Hungary turned things round with a two-goal blitz before a brace from Andrea Lekić enabled the hosts to nose ahead 37:36 at the end of the first period of extra time.

But Serbia then appeared to run out of steam and having given the ball away in attack after Kiss also saved two long-range shots, the home team fizzed out as rampant Hungary scored five goals without reply to take a decisive 41:37 lead in the last minutes of the game.

Best Player of the Match
Hungary: Zsuzsanna Tomori - left back
Serbia: Svetlana Ognjenović - left wing

Quotes from the press conference and the mixed zone

Orsolya HERR (HUN) - goalkeeper

On winning EHF EURO 2012 bronze:
"It was my dream to win a medal, and this dream has come true. I am so happy now!"

On the match:
"We played as a team and we focused on every second. In the end we had more power than Serbia, that was decisive.

"Even when we missed the chances to win the match already after 60 minutes, we never gave up. Today all the girls played really well."

Biljana FILIPOVIC (SRB) - left back

On losing the bronze final:
"We were absolutely sure that we will win, so the disappointment is even bigger.

"We are absolutely on the floor. Today the defence was our problem, normally you don't conceed nearly 40 girls in 60 minutes.

"And also in the second half of the extra-time we lacked the luck you need to win. This is handball, and I am really, really sad."

On future prospects of the Serbian national team:
"Women's handball in Serbia was in the wilderness for a decade and losing this match was a bitter pill to swallow because chances like this come few and far between.

"Now we have to pull our socks up and work even harder to have another go at a medal in the 2013 Women's World Championship here in Serbia.

"The legacy of this tournament is that we functioned like a big happy family for the past few months and nothing can take that away from us."

Katarina TOMAŠEVIĆ (SRB) - goalkeeper

On losing the bronze medal match:
"Such is life. Sometimes, the things you want most elude you but we have no regrets because we left it all out there on the court in every match and this time it just wasn't meant to be.

"We failed to regain our calm and composure after Saturday's semi-final defeat by Montenegro and we lacked energy in defence today.

"Still, we had a chance as we kept coming back and even edged ahead in extra time, but we fell apart in the last five minutes. We have to keep the team spirit we have built during this tournament.

"We tried to win this medal for the fans and for all of us here, but we couldn't do it and I am so disappointed. There is bitter taste left from this game, and I regret this missed chance (to win bronze).

"We are a team that is still developing and have to improve, and in time, we will come back even stronger. We now look towards the 2013 World Championship.

Viktoria REDEI-SOOS (HUN) - right back

On winning bronze:
"I am just so happy for this bronze medal. I think we played fantastic and deserved the win."

Karl Erik BØHN (NOR) - Hungary head coach

On the match:
"I think we performed a fantastic fight. I had the feeling that the match would be won by the team, whose goalkeeper first had two saves in a row, and that pretty much turned out to be correct. I am very proud of the girls."

Sasa BOSKOVIC (SRB) – Serbia head coach

On his feelings:
"I am very sad that we did not manage to win a medal at this tournament. My heart is filled with good memories from this tournament, though, as the girls have shown how proud they are of playing for their country and what they can perform."

Aniko KOVACSICS (HUN) – middle back

On the match:
"I am happy with the way we played today. We were very upset after the loss yesterday as I thought we deserved to play in the final.

"We hoped for the finals, but if somebody had offered this third place and the bronze medal to us before the tournament, we would have happily taken it.

Andrea LEKIC (SRB) - middle back

On the match:
"Hungary deserved the bronze, I think. However, we can proud of having given everything we had in this tournament.

"We have come from nothing to a fourth place at the European championship. Women's handball is back in Serbia."

Sanja DAMNJANOVIC (SRB) - left back

On her feelings:
"We are all very sad, and I really think that we had deserved the bronze medal. Our defence has been the heart in our play in this tournament, but unfortunately that part did not function today."


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević
 
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