02/01/2020

Five dangerous one-on-one players at EHF EURO 2020

FEATURE: Being able to use individual skills to seize the initiative in matches is a valuable asset for many players. Here we take a look at five of the best one-on-one players who will feature at EHF EURO 2020

Croatia's Luka Cindric is one of the most dangerous one-on-one players. (Photo ©: Nebojsa Tejic / kolektiff)

Handball is a team sport no doubt, but there are some players who are able to have considerable impact with little assistance, keeping defenders on their toes whenever they have the ball.

Here we look at five players of note for their exceptional one-on-one skills.

Sander Sagosen, Norway

With his ability to shoot from any distance and lightning quick decision making, there are few individual players more dangerous than Sander Sagosen.

Relax for half a second in front of the 24-year-old Norwegian superstar, and you will be punished with a shot. Give him an inch to step past, and he will make it look like an effortless mile and leave the goalkeeper little chance with a rocket from the six-metre line.

Although he is only 24, he has been on the radar as one of the best in the world for some years, after rising to prominence in Norway’s history-making campaign at the EHF EURO 2016. What can he do on home soil four years later?

Miha Zarabec, Slovenia

Slovenia have produced a long line of exceptional playmakers, and Miha Zarabec is the one to watch at the moment. The Kiel centre back is essentially impossible to defend when given enough space to feint.

Zarabec was instrumental in Slovenia’s best performances at the EHF EURO 2018, where his side were the only team to defeat eventual champions Spain in the preliminary round.

Extremely agile and able to change pace very quickly, from standstill to maximum speed breaking through in the blink of an eye, Zarabec will be ready to rip apart defences he faces when Slovenia begin their campaign in Gothenburg.

Luka Cindric, Croatia

Croatia centre back Luka Cindric is one of the most successful on this list in terms of championships won – although his success has mainly been enjoyed in club competitions.

The 2017 EHF Player of the Year was part of HC Vardar’s Champions League-winning squad in 2016/17, and has reached both VELUX EHF FINAL4 events since.

Not only is he a strong one-on-one player, with great breakthroughs as well as a solid outside shot, but he is able to take a decisive role in crunch time. It was his goal that won HC Vardar the semi-final against Barcelona at the EHF FINAL4 2016/17, as he grabbed the chance for a shot from nine metres in the final seconds.

Luc Steins, Netherlands

He is clearly the shortest player on this list, standing at 173 cm, but do not underestimate Luc Steins.

Steins uses his stature to maximum advantage, being very tricky to defend if opponents wish to avoid goals or punishments.

As with many of the best one-on-one players, Steins is a centre back – and his ability to read the game proves a key weapon as he easily finds gaps to break through.

After being a key player for the OCI Lions in the Netherlands, with whom he won the BENE League, Steins now plays in France. As the Dutch make their debut at the EHF EURO, Steins will be a key part of the line-up.

Alex Dujshebaev, Spain

While all the players on this list count great skills in beating defenders one-on-one in their repertoire as well as shots from outside that make them more unpredictable, Alex Dujshebaev is particularly dangerous for his ability to shoot while withstanding huge defensive pressure.   

The Spanish back is extremely versatile, and also very physically tough, able to charge into the defence again and again, withstand the hits, and somehow still get the ball into the goal.

The 26-year-old has won back-to-back EHF EURO medals, as well as the Champions League with Vardar in 2017.

written by Courtney Gahan