Since in 2010, when they received visas for their first major competition, the European Championships in Denmark and Norway, the handball players of Montenegro did not play a more significant match in the qualifications. Between the “Lionesses” and the 13th consecutive big tournament stands the Czech Republic, which won the first match of the fight for the World Cup in Japan 26:24.
Tonight’s match in Niksic (at 8.15 p.m.) is even more important when it is known that only the participants of the December Planetary Championship have a chance to find themselves again in Japan next summer in a much more important contest - the Olympic Games. The goal of Jovanka Radicevic and her team is to find themselves in the biggest sporting venue for the third time, to amend the impression of Rio de Janeiro, perhaps even attempt to repeat the success from London, which is why the duel against the Czechs is for them of the utmost importance.
The class is on the side of Pero Johanson's team, who, with the help of the public can and must heavily exceed the minus from Mostar.
"We lost the first two match with two points difference, but in the analysis, we saw that we were not at our maximum level. We know we are threatened by the fact that the Czech Republic is extremely good in all positions, but I believe in our team because we have the experience of playing such games. We are aware that the atmosphere in Niksic will be an advantage, this will be our additional motive," Radicevic said.
The Captain of Montenegro is aware that five days ago, her team failed in what was its strongest point - defense.
It is necessary to play it the best way possible, because the attack lacks the creations of Milena Raicevic due to injury.
"We have to play the defense much better than in the Czech Republic because in some situations we did not react as we should have. I'm sure we will be taken away by the wish and the atmosphere, because the hall will be filled to the last place. Montenegro deserves to be part of the World Cup," said the best right wing of the Champions League.
Johanson does not escape from the proclaimed goal - the Olympics in Tokyo, and the first obstacle on that path is the team of Jan Bashni. The quality is on the side of the “Lionesses", but on Friday it was not felt as such in the field.
"We spent the last few days watching the first match in the Czech Republic. There were good things, but a lot of bad ones. We will try to repeat that we did well, but we have to play better than in the first match to win," says the 48-year-old Swede.
The man who led Montenegro to the 6th place at the World Cup in Germany and 9th at EHF Euro in France knows what his players need to improve from the first match.
"The defense will always be the key to this team, and it was not good in the Czech Republic. This has to be corrected; we have to do much better to be successful," Johanson emphasized.
The atmosphere in the hall is a plus
Niksic has hosted some of the unforgettable matches played by handball players and basketball players from Montenegro, who with huge support from the stands have entered some of the most important victories in the history. The audience should also fill the hall tonight and be the eighth player of the “Lionesses”.
"This is a motif for all of us, we expect a full hall, as always in Niksic. We are not satisfied with the first match, there were a lot of mistakes, and certainly, we can do much better. We have analyzed this, and we are ready to enter the rematch," said 22-year-old Djurdjina Jaukovic from Niksic.
Jelena Despotovic is also thinking similarly.
"The support will mean a lot to us. We cannot wait to start the match, but this must not deconcentrate us, but we have to start very well from the first minute. The defense was the biggest problem in the first game; we will try to correct the mistakes we made," emphasized the Hungarian Debrecina.
Text by Nikola Nikolic, on June 5th, 2019, read more at Vijesti