Everything has almost happened as expected in group D, but there are a couple of but’s.
Iceland was simply over their head in this tournament, their squad is quite simply not good enough to participate in a European Championship. The best player on the team is the player who is abroad or have been, my advice to my good friend coach Agust Johansson, is to get several of his players away from Iceland, let them go abroad and play in some other stronger league and gain som more routine. There is no doubt that the players have the will and want to fight to get far as handball player.
This do also indicates that the Euro is way harder to play than the World Championship. In Brazil Iceland surprised everyone with their results
Russia never found rhythm against Romania, it was also a difficult match to start with, but they came from this game by one point. So you would think that they went on the field with a completely different attitude to the match against the Montenegro, but no, here was it class difference, the Russians were run down in large periods of the match.
Russia gained some self confidence, to bring to the main round, with a beautiful and disciplined victory against Iceland, a game they had to win, but they were never in trouble.
They,ve immediately made some problems for themself now, they enter the main round without points.
The road to a semi final is now difficult, coach Vitaly Krokhin must really get the most out of his squad if they are going to make it to a semi final.
I did not think Montenegro was hungry enough, but what an accomplishment they’ve done.
Three wins in the group and four points into the main round. And just suddenly they’re a candidate for the medals, they just need to win one game in main round, and I am convinced that they will.
That they should be able to perform so well without the world’s best handball player in this decade, Bojana Popovic, surprises me really much. It is a
collective that have been fighting for the country and they play at times very good handball, not least the in the match against Romania. It was the best game I’ve seen in this tournament.
I now talking up the collective to Montenegro, but the big star’s are of course Ana Dokic and Katharina Bulatovic. And they suddenly got a keeper who can be a match winner, something that has always been their major problem.
High praise for Dragan Adzic and his crew that now joined the medal match in this tournament.
Romania, I do not think they’ve reached their top level in this tournament, but if it happens it can quickly come surprises in this main round as they lands in group with Russia and Montenegro.
But the have to get their level up. It seemed clear that the there is a lack of someone to tak control in both ends of the court.
Coach Tadici seems like a man who quickly lose the desire and belief things, for example in the last group against Montenegro he did not even speak to the players during the time out.
They also got their first choice Paula Urgureana back
in the goal and what en aentrance she did in the tournament, she played at a very high level, it was not her cause they not won the last match.
I do not judge the team out of the tournament, but it’s close, but small miracles must happen before the next match.
38 year old Søren Jeppesen is a handball coach in the German Bundesliga where he now coaches Raubmöwen in Travemünde. Earlier he was head coach of HSG Wildungen and before that a coach in Iceland, Norway and his home country Denmark.
Søren has also worked in the radio for 10 years where he followed both club teams in Denmark and the national teams at their championships.