Montenegro open main round with stunning win against Croatia
Montenegro are carrying on their winning tour of the Balkan nations. After North Macedonia and Slovenia in the preliminary round, Croatia could not do anything to contest Montenegro’s passion on the court.
Thanks to a stunning performance by goalkeeper Nebojsa Simic, Montenegro broke away on the scoreboard, leading by as much as seven goals. And in the end, they did grab two points, and their first ever main round win at the EHF EURO.
- Montenegro clearly had the upper hand in the first half, playing without pressure in attack and being backed up by a very strong Nebojsa Simic. The last minute before the break saw them score an amazing double in-flight goal to lead by six at the break
- despite rotating all his players, and giving Mirko Alilovic his first national team game since 2018, Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat was unable to find any kind of solution. Never did his team come back into the game in the second half
- Simic was elected Grundfos Player of the Match, thanks to his 14 saves at a 40 per cent efficiency rate
- with the two points taken today, Montenegro are now temporary leaders of the group, level with France, Iceland and Denmark
- Montenegro will play their second match of the main round on Saturday against the Netherlands while Croatia will play against Denmark
The benefits of playing without pressure
A month ago, maybe Montenegro did not even expect to qualify for the main round. But now that they are here, they are going to make the most of it.
Zoran Roganovic’s team are clearly playing without any pressure, happy to be here, and it shows on the court. They look full of confidence, trying tricks like a double in-flight goal just before the break. When there is no pressure and lots of confidence, Montenegro showed you can achieve anything.
I am so proud again with our game and our players. We did an excellent game today, it was really something that we want to keep going. I hope that, in the future, we can keep that pace. I am looking forward for the next games and, hopefully, more wins.
Montenegro played a perfect game. Their defence was good, they had an amazing goalkeeper. We did not manage to play the defence we wanted and we were too nervous in attack.