Montenegro striving to repeat 2012 glory
Always an outsider, never a favourite. One could basically sum up Montenegro’s situation before every major tournament. And indeed, their iconic women’s team never ranked worse than ninth at any championship they took part in since 2010.
After finishing ninth at the last EHF EURO in France, Montenegro will play against France again in the preliminary round, as well as Denmark and Slovenia. Moving to the main round will be a tough task already for them, made even trickier by the last-minute replacement of Per Johansson with Kim Rasmussen as coach.
Will Montenegro finally be able to fulfil their promises?
Looking at the names on the roster, you might think that Montenegro have not got much to be jealous of when looking at the likes of Denmark, France or Russia.
But it seems like, no matter how talented Jovanka Radicevic, Djurdjina Jaukovic or Milena Raicevic are, the team will falter at one point or another.
To win an important competition such as the EHF EURO, you need to play your best handball in every game. Whenever Montenegro manage that, they will not be far from the medals.
Under the spotlight: Marta Batinovic and Ljubica Nenezic
With Marina Rajcic on maternity leave, Montenegro will have to find a replacement for the 27-year-old keeper. Marta Batinovic and Ljubica Nenezic, who both play for Romanian sides, will be the two players sharing the position at the EHF EURO.
And stepping into Rajcic’s shoes is a huge task, especially for players who have not played more than 30 times in international games. Montenegro’s defence has often been the key to their good performance, and the goalkeeping pair will play a key role in it.
How they rate themselves
“I respect any opponent but I also like to make sure everyone respects Montenegro. Any team will have a tough time against us if we play our best handball,” says captain Jovanka Radicevic.
With a promising generation ready to take over and either moving to the best sides in Europe or playing major roles with Buducnost, Montenegro display the perfect alliance of youth and experience. And with their trademark self-confidence, these Balkan side is ready to take on anyone.
What the numbers say
Of the 19 players selected, only five do not play in Montenegro or in Romania. Seven players drafted for the competition sport the Buducnost jersey, proving that the main club in Montenegro remains a never-ending well of talent for the national team.
EHF EURO participations: 6 (including 2020)
Winners (1): 2012
Semi-final (1): 2014