Bosnia & Herzegovina are writing new pages in the country’s handball history book, having secured their historic first EHF EURO berth.
The team, affectively known as ‘Dragons,’ will relish the chance to play their hearts out and enjoy their handball, hoping to spring a surprise against difficult rivals.
Three questions ahead of the Men's EHF EURO 2020:
- What can Bosnia & Herzegovina fans hope for in a difficult group?
Drawn in group D, alongside favourites France, co-hosts Norway, as well as in-form Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have a daunting task in their hands at their maiden EHF EURO.
“This is the most difficult group at the EHF EURO. We are playing against the champions and vice champions of the world, as well as a very good Portugal team,” said coach Bilal Suman, who took over the national team in 2016.
- Are there any chances of a surprise at the EHF EURO?
Bosnia & Herzegovina are no strangers to surprise, having already amazed many with the way they qualified for the EHF EURO. This brave team must surely be plotting a surprise.
“Playing in such a difficult group doesn’t mean there will be no surprises. Look at Portugal: they were able to smash favourites France in the qualification. There will definitely be no surrendering from our side,” said coach Suman.
- How far is the current squad from their full potential?
The road to the EHF EURO 2020 was a difficult one, given many issues off the court, as well as several injuries to key players in the qualification.
“We had a lot of issues in the qualification. Marko Tarabochia had a ligament injury, Marko Panic is coming back to form. The names on the current list represent the best players we have right now,” said Suman, who scored 124 goals in 32 matches, as a player for the national team.
Bosnia & Herzegovina planned a 16-day preparation period including test matches, against Croatia and others, before taking on Norway in their EHF EURO opener on 10 January.
— EHF EURO (@EHFEURO) June 16, 2019
Under the spotlight: The Buric twins
Playing in good form and in key positions, twin brothers Benjamin and Senjamin Buric emerged as key to any success for Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Goalkeeper Benjamin’s form for Flensburg puts him among the best Bundesliga shot-stoppers of late and he will be a building block for the Bosnia & Herzegovina defence. Senjamin’s enormous fighting spirit makes him the difference maker, especially in offence.
Having nothing to lose can be a liberating feeling at a competition. However, with a proud nation and an expectant fan base following, Bosnia & Herzegovina will do their utmost to make their EHF EURO debut a memorable one.
“We will follow our group rivals and their friendly matches ahead of the EURO. We will have a good preparation for the EHF EURO, to represent our country the best way possible,” said Suman.
When they take the court in January, Bosnia & Herzegovina will line up one of the oldest squads at the EHF EURO 2020. The average age of their players during the EHF EURO 2020 qualification was more than 29, with at least six players over 30.
What the numbers say
Their 39-year-old captain Nikola Prce is among the oldest players at the EHF EURO 2020. The seasoned veteran has represented 17 clubs in his illustrious career and played more than 100 matches for Bosnia & Herzegovina. He remains an essential part of Bilal Suman’s plans.