Bosnia and Herzegovina eye game against Portugal for first win at EHF EURO

FEATURE: Bosnia and Herzegovina are playing their first-ever EHF EURO. But Senjamin Buric and his teammates want more.

Senjamin Buric, seen in the centre of the timeout huddle against Norway, is confident Bosnia can still perform at the EHF EURO 2020. Photo © Axel Heimken / kolektiff

For the first time in history, Bosnia and Herzegovina have qualified for the EHF EURO. The national team played their last international competition in 2015, when they qualified for the World Championship in Qatar.

Line player Senjamin Buric was already in the team back then, but he has since grown up, playing the VELUX EHF Champions League with teams like Nantes and Zagreb. And he is now looking forward to rub shoulders with some of the best handball sides on the planet.

“This is a big opportunity for us. Taking part in the EURO is a big step for the development of our team,” says the Nantes player. “We know that we are playing with two of the favourites of the tournament, Norway and France. So we might not have the first place of the group in mind, but we would like to collect at least a win.”

The game against Portugal in Trondheim on Sunday afternoon, is seen as the most important of the preliminary round for Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I think we Portugal are quite on the same level, we definitely have a chance to do something against them,” says Buric.

Buric says there were positives to take away from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s loss in their first EHF EURO 2020 game against Norway on Friday. The six-goal defeat even featured some good signs for the near future, if you listen to the players.

“We played our game and we didn’t let anything go. We wanted this game against Norway to be useful to prepare the rest of the competition and that is exactly what we did,” adds Buric, who scored two goals against the Group D hosts.

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A post shared by Senjamin Buric (@senjaminburic8) on Jan 9, 2020 at 1:12pm PST

Bond between brothers

In order to get into the game against Portugal without too much thoughts on their heads, the Bosnian players will be able to count on the experience gathered by some of their peers, such as 39-year-old left back Nikola Price and Telekom Veszprém player Mirsad Terzic. They also know how to handle the pressure before decisive games, and they are willing to help their younger teammates during the EURO.

“It helps that some players like Mirsad Terzic can talk them down, just tell them to play how they usually do. There was some stress ahead of the first game, because we did not know what to expect. But even though the national team is a different context than the club, it is really helpful,” says Buric.

The line player will have a little bit more help in preparing for the game against Portugal, since his twin brother, Benjamin, stands between the Bosnian posts. The pair played together up until 2016, when, after three seasons in Velenje, their paths separated.

Benjamin went to Germany and is now playing for SG Flensburg-Handewitt while Senjamin moved to Nantes in France – still his current club, after a one-season stint at Zagreb in 2018/19.

“It is always nice to meet again. We have a real bond between the two of us, and to share these kind of emotions with your brother is even more exciting,” concludes Buric.

No doubt a win against Portugal on Sunday would make the whole adventure even more exciting.

written by Kevin Domas / jh