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23.11.2016, 09:06
Slovenia back after a six-year absence
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TEAM CHECK SLOVENIA: After a long rough patch the Slovenian women are back at the Women's EHF EURO, and with them a coach who has been making a lot of noise on the club front, Uros Bregar
 

Slovenia back after a six-year absence

EHF EURO 2010 was the last time we saw Slovenia at a major final tournament. While at club level we have seen Krim keep up with the big names, the national team has struggled. Twelve years without a victory at an EHF EURO final tournament forced the federation to change, who was in charge of the bench.

Just before the lead up to Sweden 2016, Uros Bregar was appointed as the new head coach. In the all-Balkan group, Slovenia hoped that at least third place would be enough to reach the EURO; a huge win against Croatia in the beginning of June opened that door.

There is only one real goal for Slovenia in Sweden - to play their best. In a tough group with the host team, Serbia and Spain, the inexperienced Slovenian girls could find it tough. There is enough quality in the team to reach the main round, and maybe the national team could take some pointers from Krim surprisingly taking top spot in their EHF Champions League group - Uros Bregar being the head coach of both.

The roster

There are no major surprises in the Slovenian roster. The best and the most experienced players will be available in the build up to Sweden. Nine players have international club experience.

Neli Irman and Tamara Mavsar are wings of Buducnost and Vardar, Barbara Lazovic (also Vardar) will share right back with Ana Gros (Metz). All three of the goalkeepers on the list are from Krim, with Misa Marincek being the top choice.

The attack

Most of the danger comes from the right-hand side. Ana Gros (Metz) is one of the best players in French league, and along with the more experienced Barbara Lazovic (Vardar) they make a great attacking tandem.

Scoring often comes from their fast wings, Neli Irman (Budučnost) and Tamara Mavsar (Vardar); both are looking forward to mounting their counter-attacking game in Sweden. There are no stars among the line players, and they lack top-level game time. The true force of the team should be their team spirit and, of course, in their discipline.

The defence

Like most of the top teams, Slovenia also relies on it’s 6-0. There were some games where defence showed all of the potential of being strong and very fast-moving.

Misa Marincek (Krim) is a goalkeeper who can easily turn the match upside down and is one of the players that Slovenia relies on. She is the last obstacle and the one that provides the counter attacks with excellent passes.

The coach

Uros Bregar (37) is a young coach but not the youngest so far on the Slovenian bench. He has gained a lot of experience as an assistant coach in Krim and also on the national bench. He draw his knowledge from the likes of Tone Tiselj, Marta Bon, Robert Begus, with only one year exception he dedicated his already long coaching career to women.

With some experience abroad, he worked for a year and half in Vardar and in Hungary with Vac, he first took over the national team, and soon after also sat on Krim’s bench -- both previously taken up by his sort of mentor Marta Bon.

Bregar obviously has his player’s full trust, which is sometimes the most important thing. He has already shown that with hard work you can often replace the lack of top quality.

Outlook

Even though Slovenia are expected to give their all in the opening match against Serbia - which may already be enough to reach the main round - they will certainly not raise white flags against Spain and Sweden. After missing the top spots in past years the Slovenia women will do their utmost to show that they are not hear to make up numbers.

The 19 players (to be reduced to 16) nominated by Slovenia for the Women's EHF EURO 2016

Goalkeepers: Misa Marincek, Sergeja Stefanisin and Amra Pandzic (all Krim Mercator)

Left wings: Polona Baric (Krim Mercator), Tamara Mavsar (Vardar)

Right wing: Neli Irman (Buducnost)

Line players: Katja Cerenjak (Zelene Doline Zalec), Lina Krhlikar (Frisch auf Göppingen), Valentina Panger (Zagorje)

Left backs: Teja Ferfolja (DHB Rotweiss Thun), Lea Krajnc (Zagnos Tur), Maja Uzmah (Celles-sur-Belle)

Centre backs: Nina Jericek (Krim Mercator), Ana Petrinja (Frisch auf Göppingen), Tjasa Stanko (Zagorje), Nina Zulic (Mlinotest Ajdovscina)

Right backs: Ana Gros (Metz Handball), Barbara Lazovic (Vardar), Janja Rebolj (Zagorje)


TEXT: Uros Volk / bc / ts
 
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