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04.11.2014, 17:27
Montenegro remain the specialists for surprises
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Men's EHF EURO 2016 FEATURE: Montenegro head coach Ljubomir Obradovic has formed a squad of young players that once more seems capable of beating the big guns in European handball
 

Montenegro remain the specialists for surprises

If a handball coach of what is sometimes called 'emerging nation' wants to know how his team can potentially spring a surprise against a favourite, he should consider going to Montenegro to learn.

It seems as if the nation's men's national team has – at least on certain occasions – turned into the specialists for beating the big guns in European handball.

In the play-offs for the World Championship 2013 they eliminated Sweden. Not even half a year later they beat Germany twice in the EHF EURO 2014 Qualification and also overcame Czech Republic at home in the same campaign.

And the past weekend they did it again, beating Iceland 25:24 – but there is a remarkable difference between this game and the aforementioned.

The team that took to the court in 2012 and 2013 had much more experience compared to the players head coach Ljubomir Obradovic fielded against Iceland.

It had been Obradovic's decision to rejuvenate the team when he took over after Montenegro played a rather disappointing EHF EURO 2014 and he sticks to his words.

When Montenegro met Iceland on Sunday, players such as Vuko Borozan (20 years), Vladan Lipovina (21), Milos Bozovic (19), Stefan Cavor (19), Nemanja Grbovic (24), Milos Vujovic (21), Bozo Andjelic (22), Mirko Radovic (24), Bogdan Petricevic (25), led by experienced players such as Fahrudin Melic, Rade Mijatovic and Mile Mijuskovic took to the court – and won.

"I admire these guys and so do our fans, who from the beginning believed in us and cheered for us from start to finish.

"They helped us to get a very difficult, but very well-deserved victory. We had ups and downs, but that is inevitable with such young players.

"We conceded easy goals, while none of our goals was easy. There were also some premature shots, but we have to forgive the players, because of their inexperience," Ljubomir Obradovic said.

"Bozovic played great defence, I must congratulate him. Vujovic, Radovic, Grbovic were excellent, Mijatovic and Mijuskovic produced miracles at the goal," Obradovic added.

A promising generation

20-year-old Vuko Bozoran was without doubt Montenegro’s 'Man of the Match', scoring 10 goals.

"Everything seemed somehow unreal, because hardly anyone expected that we could defeat Iceland.

"They are a handball nation, with top players from the best European clubs, a system that has been working superbly for years, while we're young team.

"Before the game and during the warm-up, we've seen players that we knew only from TV. But, that gave us some extra motivation.

"We did not show too much respect on the field, we believed in ourselves, and we won," Borozan said.

The Metalurg player added that "it's clear to everyone that Montenegro has a promising (handball) generation."

The game between Montenegro and Iceland had a special meaning for the home team, since Iceland was the first country to recognise Montenegro’s independence back in 2006.

Because of that, Montenegro team director and former international, Petar Kapisoda, handed a Montenegro flag to Iceland captain Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson.

"It (rejuvenating the team) was a big risk. But these guys showed how to play for the national team, they showed a special emotion, they were diligent and obedient.

"They are lucky to work with Obradovic, who knows who to deal with young people," Kapisoda said.


TEXT: Saša Jončić / ts
 
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