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11.11.2013, 12:09
Ilic calls silver at EHF EURO 2012 historic success
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INTERVIEW: The tenth and final part of the 'Where are they now?'-series about the stars from previous EHF EURO Events portrays Serbia's Momir Ilic who was awarded Most Valuable Player at the EHF EURO 2012
 

Ilic calls silver at EHF EURO 2012 historic success

With the Men's EHF EURO 2014 just around the corner, we will take a look at the final chapter of the 'Where are they now?'-series portraying Serbia’s captain and most influential player Momir Ilic, who will again be the team’s driving force at the 16-nation tournament in Denmark.

The high-scoring and versatile left back, who can be just as effective as a playmaker when required, reminisced in an exclusive interview with ehf-euro.com about some of the most glittering moments in his illustrious national team career, namely the epic EHF EURO 2012 semi-final win over Croatia which gave Serbia their first medal as an independent nation.

An ecstatic atmosphere in the Belgrade Arena and an eruption of joy from the home fans made the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award take a back seat on Ilic’s scale of priorities, as the 31-year-old always puts team success ahead of his personal benefits.

Having won a myriad of trophies with his former club THW Kiel, including the VELUX EHF Champions League, Ilic moved to Hungarian giants MKB-MVM Veszprem for the 2013/14 season.

Here, we went down the EHF EURO 2012 memory lane with Ilić and also learned his expectations for the upcoming European Championship.

ehf-euro.com: How would you rate Serbia’s chances at EHF EURO 2014?
Momir Ilic: We have a good chance of doing well at the EHF EURO 2014 because we did a decent job in the qualifiers. Regardless of the fact that we have a tough preliminary round group, I think we should aim for a podium finish in Denmark.

ehf-euro.com: What winning the silver medal at EHF EURO 2012 on home court mean to you?
Momir Ilic: It was a huge success for this generation because it was the first handball medal Serbia has won as an independent nation. It capped my national team career and this achivement will go down in history as memorable for all of us who played a part.

ehf-euro.com: And what was the most remarkable moment of EHF EURO 2012 for you?
Momir Ilic: Without doubt it was the semi-final win over Croatia. The intense rivalry added weight to the fact that we secured a medal after coming from behind to beat one of the best teams in the world. The atmosphere in the Belgrade Arena was fantastic and it will stick in our minds forever.

ehf-euro.com: You must have been delighted by winnig the EHF EURO 2012 Most Valuable Player award?
Momir Ilic: At the time, I didn’t pay much attention to it because the primary objective was a podium finish with the team and all my efforts were focused on helping Serbia delight the home crowd.

But looking at it now from a distance, I can say that I am really pleased and honoured to have won the award. It gives me the strength to carry on and work harder at both club and international level.

ehf-euro.com: The Serbian team is likely to be reshuffled for the tournament in Denmark. Which players could be trump cards in your efforts to do well again?
Momir Ilic: There are quite a few lads capable of making an imapct but if I had to single out anyone I think the experience and quality of Marko Vujin, Petar Nenadic and Momir Rnic could be a telling factor. As far as young and upcoming players are concerned, winger Bogdan Radivojevic should make an impact.

ehf-euro.com: Which teams do you see as medal favourites?
Momir Ilic: France, Spain, Croatia and Denmark are the front-runners and we should be up there, too. However, another three or four teams are quite capable of springing upsets and hence no one can take anything for granted.


Where are they now? - Part 9 - Ivano Balic, MVP at the EHF EURO 2004

Where are they now? - Part 8 - Filip Jicha, MVP at the EHF EURO 2010

Where are they now? - Part 7 - Kasper Hvidt, best goalkeeper at the EHF EURO 2008

Where are they now? - Part 6 - Siarhei Rutenka, top scorer at the EHF EURO 2006

Where are they now? - Part 5: Olafur Stefansson, MVP at the EHF EURO 2002

Where are they now? - Part 4: Jackson Richardson, MVP at the EHF EURO 2000

Where are they now? - Part 3: Daniel Stephan, MVP at the EHF EURO 1998

Where are they now - Part 2: Talant Dujshebaev, MVP at the EHF EURO 1996

Where are they now? - Part 1: Magnus Andersson, MVP at the EHF EURO 1994


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / ts
 
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