Injuries to key players have hampered Montenegro's ambitionsArticle
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NEWS REPORT: A podium finish seemed to be within reach for Montenegro at the upcoming Women's 19 EHF EURO in Spain, however some serious injury worries have put a damper on the team's goals

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Injuries to key players have hampered Montenegro's ambitions

If pure logic applied, Montenegro would be ripe for a medal come the Women’s 19 EHF EURO which starts on Thursday in Valencia, Spain.

The team came fifth at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2013, then finished fourth at the Women’s Youth World Championship last year in FYR Macedonia – hence a third place finish at the upcoming event would be a logical conclusion.

However, handball is much more than logic, and to Montenegro’s dismay injuries to three of the team’s key players have hampered the team’s medal ambitions even further: Djurdjina Malovic broke her leg in January and still has not recovered fully; centre back Vanesa Agovic tore her cruciate ligament in May and goalkeeper Ana Rajkovic suffered from the same injury already back in February.

"Due to the fact that we are missing three important players, we won’t have the same ambitions as if the team were together," says the head coach, former Montenegro international Maja Savic.

"This generation has shown its quality at all the major competitions it played. For us it is important to keep this continuity."

And despite all injury worries, Savic believes in her team’s strength.

"I believe that our defence will be up to its game and I hope that we can overcome problems in attack where much will depend on the Djurdjina Jaukovic.

"The most important thing is that each player gives its maximum, and we'll see where that will take us. Also, our goal is to produce some more players for a senior selection," Savic concluded.

Playing without pressure

Left back Djurdjina Jaukovic (pictured above), who already played for Montenegro team at the EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia, will be Montenegro’s main weapon in attack in Spain.

"I believe in my team that we can achieve a major result. Especially now that almost no one expects anything from us," Jaukovic tells

As part of the preparation for Women’s 19 EHF EURO in Valencia, Montenegro played at the Universiade in Gwangju (South Korea) and eventually finished ninth.

"We are not satisfied with the result, but we were the youngest team in the competition. Some games we played very well, and we had the chance to check what things need to be fixed before the championship," says Jaukovic.

In Spain, Montenegro starts in Group A with Denmark, Serbia and Croatia.

"The group is not at all easy. First of all there is Denmark, who beat us at the Women's Youth World Championship last year by one goal in the game for bronze. Serbia and Croatia are two teams that always have the motivation to beat Montenegro," summarises Jaukovic.

"I believe that we can make it to the main round because we are a very strong team, and we all have to give our best in every game to achieve something important in Valencia."

TEXT: Saša Jončić / ts