Montenegro’s dream fulfilled after beating Slovenia

EHF / Danijela Vekić

Montenegro’s long-lived dream came true. They secured a main round spot for the first time since 2008 by knocking out the 2020 semi-finalists, Slovenia.

The battle for the main round in Debrecen started as a close match, before Slovenia turned things around with a change of a goalkeeper and fast breaks ending with a four-goal run.

Montenegro’s dream of the main round started to fade away, but not their fighting spirit. They came back into the game, equalising to 28:28 with 10 minutes to the buzzer. It was all or nothing for both teams and with two crucial saves by Nebojsa Simic in last minutes of the match, Montenegro celebrated a historic third EHF EURO win.

Montenegro vs Slovenia 33:32 (16:19)

  • Montenegro welcomed back their coach Zoran Roganovic and line player Nebojsa Simovic after they recovered from Covid-19
  • it was a close game up until the 20th minute of the match, when Slovenia’s Jure Dolenec, who returned to the team after a mild injury, scored for 15:11
  • coach Roganovic tried different tactical options, mainly in defence, to bring his team level at 28:28
  • Nebojsa Simic was the hero of the hour, stopping three Slovenian goals in the last minutes of the match, allowing his teammates to score for historic win
  • Grundfos Player of the Match was Branko Vujovic, who was vital with nine goals

Team spirit

Montenegro were underdogs, dealt with many problems and were not favourites in the match. However, one thing they kept saying throughout was: “We have team spirit and we believe in ourselves”. That was shown in true colours tonight.

From the first minute they were fighting hard, not giving up, and are now through to the main round for the first time since 2008 when coach Zoran Roganovic was still playing. What a story Montenegro have to tell.

I believed in this, I believed in my friends, we are brothers, we have a very big heart. This is an amazing day in an amazing atmosphere. This is my first EHF EURO, this fact makes the feeling even more special.
Vasilje Kaludjerovic
Centre back, Montenegro
We were not good enough in defence throughout the whole match. At the end, of course, it was a close match. We couldn’t come back when we had our chance. This is really a bad result for Slovenia, for players and me as a coach. I’m very disappointed but that belongs to sport. Someone needs to lose and I’m sorry it’s us this time.
Ljubomir Vranjes
Coach, Slovenia

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