20211214

Bosnian underdogs ready to bite at EHF EURO 2022

EHF / Danijela Vekić

This is the third article in a series of 24, presenting all participants at the Men's EHF EURO 2022 in Hungary and Slovakia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are back at the EHF EURO, two years after their debut in 2020. It will be the third major tournament for the team, which also played at the Men’s IHF World Championship 2015 in Qatar.

The team by head coach Ivica Obrvan will have a tough task in group E. However, with a mixture of experienced players and some young ones, Bosnia and Herzegovina have a chance to play top-level matches.

Three questions ahead of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022:

- What can Bosnia and Herzegovina hope for in a difficult group?

The team of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been drawn into a difficult group, as two-time defending champions Spain, Sweden and Czech Republic will be the opponents. Bosnia are hoping for at least one win while showing their fighting spirit in every single match. Even though their opponents might regard them as the underdogs of the group, the ‘Dragons’ will not let go easy.

- How will the EHF EURO define the future of the team?

Bosnia and Herzegovina have a good number of familiar names, accompanied with young talents from the domestic league mainly. Head coach Obrvan, who took over in February 2021, didn’t have much time for big changes in the squad. However, the preparation period and the matches at the EHF EURO 2022 can put younger players in the spotlight who can be important links to the future of the team.

- What are the chances for a Bosnian surprise at the EHF EURO?

Bosnia and Herzegovina might be the underdogs in group E, they have already shown in the qualifiers they can be strong opponents. Their spot at the competition was secured with a 27:21 over Austria in Obrvan’s debut match as coach, making them one of the highest ranked third-placed teams. They came close to surprise Germany, losing by only two goals in another proof they can’t be underestimated.

Under the spotlight: Benjamin Buric

His big smile and cold-blooded saves are well-known from the EHF Champions League and the German Bundesliga. In 2022, Benjamin Buric will be one of the crucial parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. When the defence in front of him opens, his shot-stopping skills step in, giving the team’s offence the opportunity to strike back. He was part of the team at the previous competition and his experience is of big importance, allowing him to pass the knowledge to his teammates.

Self-esteem

A team is usually the most dangerous when they have nothing to lose and Bosnia and Herzegovina are in that situation. There is no doubt they will give their best on the court and make their fans proud, even though everyone is aware of the opponents’ qualities. After losing all three group matches and finishing 23rd at the last EHF EURO, the team will set their eyes on the Czech Republic match for a victory. Spain and Sweden seem out of reach, but EHF EURO events have produced magic in past edition.

Fun fact

The 41-year-old Nikola Prce is among the oldest players at the EHF EURO, just like he was in 2020. This experienced left back is currently with the Kosovo champions KH Besa Famgas, the 14th club of his professional career, and had his national team debut 16 years ago. He still is an essential part of the team – though the EHF EURO 2022 will be his last hurrah as he has announced his retirement from the team after the tournament.

What the numbers say

27 clubs are represented on the team’s 35-player squad list: 17 of them are or were part of the 2021/22 European season, throughout all phases of the EHF Champions League, European League or European Cup, including four clubs in the top flight.

Past achievements

Men’s EHF EURO participations (including 2022): 2
Best result: 23rd (2020)

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