Serbia started with a win against Slovenia, while Spain lost to hosts Sweden in the first round of the EHF EURO 2016. The Serbs have never beaten Spain before but a victory in the second round would have meant a ticket for the Main Round for the Balkan girls. The match started with a Serbian goal, but Spain was running close behind. The first significant Serbian lead came in the middle of the half, the Serbs were up by four goals (6-10). Spain wasn’t in an easy situation and an injury made it even more difficult for them: Marta Mangue slipped and suffered a knee injury which seemed to be serious. Even though Serbia was not able to score in the last 9 minutes of the half, Spain didn’t really manage to reduce the gap, mostly thanks to the great saves of Marija Colic in the Serbian goal. The half ended with a three-goal Serbian lead (8-11).
In the beginning of the second half, Katarina Krpez Slezak broke the Serbian silence with a penalty, and when Nerea Pena stayed down on the ground hurting her ankle, Spain fell apart. Luckily for Spain, Pena’s injury wasn’t serious as a few minutes later she was back on court, but the difference grew constantly. After 10 minutes gone from the second half, the gap was almost two digits (10-19) and the Spanish team was in serious trouble. The match seemed to be lost for the team of Jorge Duenas, but Spain was far from giving up. They managed to come closer to the Serbians minute by minute, but they couldn’t really come in sight: Marija Colic was unbreakable in the Serbian goal and had a big part in stopping the Spanish comeback. In the final minutes, the difference was only two goals but the time was short for the Spaniards to be dangerous for the Serbian victory: Serbia won 25-23 and is the first to qualify for the Main Round.
EHF EURO 2016 – Group A – 2nd round
Spain – Serbia 23-25 (8-11)
Spain: C. Martin 6(3), M. Aguilar 3, A. Cabral 3, N. Egozkue 3, M. Lopez 2, M. Mangue 2, J. Sans 2, N. Pena 1, N. Alberto 1
Serbia: K. Krpez Slezak 6(2), J. Stoiljkovic 5(1), S. Radosavljevic 4, M. Dmitrovic 3, S. Pop-Lazic 3, J. Lavko 3, K. Liscevic 1
Penalties: 3/4 ; 3/4
Suspensions: 8 minutes ; 6 minutes
Player of the match: Marija Colic (SRB)