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09.06.2015, 11:00
Serbia set for Group 4 finale
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PREVIEW: Serbia hope to turn their fortunes in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification around with an away win against Montenegro
 

Serbia set for Group 4 finale

After a promising start to the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification campaign with maximum of four points from two matches, Serbia have put their EHF EURO 2016 berth in jeopardy as they slipped beyond the qualifying threshold to occupy only the third spot in Group 4.

With one point from the double-header against Iceland and matches versus Montenegro (10 June) and Israel (13 June) to play, Serbia will try to amend for the concentration lapses that cost them a win at Nis against Iceland, which was preceded by the lacklustre 11-goal defeat in Reykjavik.

"There is no point in dwelling on the past. The remaining matches hold the EURO berth at stake for us, but we will go one step at a time, as always. I anticipate a tough encounter against the quality Montenegrin team for which we have the utmost respect," said Serbian coach Dejan Peric.

Different circumstances

The neighbouring duel between Serbia and Montenegro will resolve much of the Group 4 standings, which currently sees Montenegro top the group with six points, closely followed by Iceland and Serbia with five points each.

Despite Montenegro having the momentum on their side, Serbia have the advantage of knowing how to beat them as they succeeded 25:21 in the first leg back in October.

As much as the encounter of two distinctly Balkan teams will for the most part be likely deprived of finely crafted moves and handball aesthetics, it will be anything but a dull affair.

Momir Ilic comes back to the national team after having become top scorer of the VELUX EHF Champions League (114 goals), while the potential absence of Marko Vujin would demand a tactical change, with Nemanja Zelenovic being his likely replacement.

"I have selected players that fit in the team and provide good cover for any position. I value versatility in my players’ skillset. I feel there is much less need for rotation that way, allowing for more fluent and cohesive game," said Peric.

Montenegro are expected to favour a physical game, however, two-metre line player Mijajlo Marsenic will be an adequate response to the towering Montenegrin back court.

"We accept the role of favourites in this match, and firmly believe that the execution of our game plan will bring the desired result," said the 22-year-old Marsenic, who will alongside Rastko Stojkovic become the key factor on the six-metre line.

“I’m glad that the lads have shown passion and desire to compete and play as a team – as long as that is that case, we are in the driving seat to carve our own destiny – I repeat, we will do everything to get to the EURO," says Peric.

Serbian national team to face Montenegro and Israel in the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification:

Goalkeepers: Miroslav Kocic (RK Vojvodina), Obrad Ivezic (JS Cherbourg Manche Hand), Dragan Marjanac (BSV Bern Muri)

Wing players: Filip Marjanovic (RK Vojvodina), Nemanja Ilic (Fenix Tolouse) Darko Djukic (RK Metalurg), Aleksandar Radovanovic (JS Cherbourg Manche Hand)

Back court players: Momir Ilic (MKB-MVM Veszprem), Ilija Abutovic (HC Vardar), Uros Elezovic (RK Vojvodina), Nemanja Zelenovic (Orlen Wisla Plock), Dalibor Cutura (HCM Constanta), Nenad Vuckovic (MT Meslungen), Davor Cutura (Al Quiyada), Nemanja Mladenovic (Cesson Rennes Métropole Hand), Marko Vujin (THW Kiel)

Line players: Rastko Stojkovic (HC Meshkov Brest), Mijajlo Marsenic (RK Partizan), Ivan Popovic (RK Partizan)


TEXT: Nemanja Savic / ts
 
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