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27.10.2014, 17:00
In-form Bosnia aim to go all the way
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PREVIEW: Exciting times ahead for the high-flying Bosnia Herzegovina team, as the “Dragons” look to follow up on their World Championship qualification success with EHF EURO-worthy performances against Belarus and Denmark
 

In-form Bosnia aim to go all the way

If there were any doubts casted on the capabilities of the team selected by Dragan Markovic, they vanished into thin air following Bosnia Herzegovina’s playoff win against Iceland which lead them to Qatar.

In the aftermath of a successful World Championship qualifying campaign, the next logical step for the high-flying Bosnian team is to prove themselves on the European stage.

The road to the final showdown in Poland will be tough for Bosnia though, as the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification Group 2 lines them up against Belarus, Denmark and Lithuania.

Bosnia will look to claim an away win versus Belarus on 29 October 29, while the face-off with the two-time European champions scheduled for 2 November in Tuzla, will see the “Dragons” attempt to use the home court advantage to mount an upset.

“Denmark is the clear favourite to top the group,” said Bosnia coach Dragan Markovic for FENA, and continued with his analysis.

“Belarus is a very difficult opponent, and Lithuania also shouldn’t be underestimated. I firmly believe that if we can avoid injuries, we have the quality to secure the EURO berth,” added Markovic.

Unequivocal about his team’s chances was Vladimir Vranjes. The Bosnian line player, who lifted the EHF Cup trophy title last term with his MOL-Pick Szeged side, did little to hide his optimism before the match against Belarus in Minsk.

“We are going for the win against Belarus in Minsk. I would be satisfied with one point from two matches, but why not try to go all the way. I want at least two points from our games against Belarus and Denmark,” boasted Vranjes confidently to 24sata.

Ones to watch

Brimming with confidence, the Bosnian team will relish the role of the dark horse for the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, with a number of players selected by Dragan Markovic putting eye-catching displays for their clubs in recent days.

Reaching the peak of their form of late is the KS Azoty Pulawy tandem Nikola Prce and Kosta Savic with six goals each in a draw against MKS Zaglebie Lubin, while goalkeeper Nebojsa Grahovac had 14 saves in his outing for Chartres MHB 28 against ASPTT Strasbourg.

Playing his third season for the Belarus top-flight HC Meshkov Brest, centre back Ivan Karacic is touted to be the central figure in Dragan Markovic’s plans for the match against Belarus. The 29-year-old will bring invaluable experience to the table, knowing that vast majority of Belarus players represent clubs from their domestic league.

“We need to repeat the approach we had against Iceland. If we could do that, I’m sure the good results will not elude us,” said Karacic for Klix.ba, calling for focus from himself and his teammates.

Bosnia will not settle for the role of an outsider in either clash. Their players are in in good form, full of confidence, while the authoritative coach Dragan Markovic seems to have put an emphasis on togetherness and cohesion in a team working as one.  

“We don’t carry the burden of being considered outsiders. We are slowly becoming a great team. We want to show our qualification to the World Championship in Qatar wasn’t just a lucky coincidence,” said Markovic for SC Sport, suggesting his Bosnia side would fear no one on their road to the EHF EURO 2016.

The Bosnia Herzegovina squad will meet on October 26 in Sarajevo, before they fly to Minsk to meet Belarus, hosting Denmark three days later at Sports Center Mejdan in Tuzla.

The Bosnia Herzegovina squad selected for Rounds 1 and 2 of the Men’s EUF EURO 2016 Qualification

Goalkeepers: Benjamin Buric (RK Gorenje Velenje), Nebojsa Grahovac (Chartres MHB 28), Pedja Dejanovic (C.D.Bidasoa)

Wing players: Mirko Mikic (RK Borac m:tel Banja Luka), Alen Ovcina (HC Bosna BH Gas), Faruk Vrazalic (ThSV Eisenach), Deni Velic (EL Jaish SC)

Backcourt players: Nikola Prce (KS Azoty Pulawy), Dusko Celica (Cesson Rennes MHB), Ivan Milas (Orlen Wisla Plock), Mirsad Terzic (MKB-MVM Veszprem), Ivan Karacic (HC Meshkov Brest), Josip Peric (Grundfos Tatabanya KC), Kosta Savic (KS Azoty Pulawy), Dejan Malinovic (RK Maribor Branik), Marko Panic (Chambery Savoie Handball)

Line players: Vladmimir Vranjes MOL-Pick Szeged), Muhamed Toromanovic (US Creteil), Senjamin Buric (RK Gorenje Velenje)


TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cor
 
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