Montenegro beats Spain 27:26 to advance to Olympics final
In the end the difference was only a goal but that doesn’t really reflect how much Montenegro were the better team throughout the match. At one point Spain had a shot percentage of 70% (they ended on 60%) but were still behind in the scoreboard – because fundamentally if you’re giving up possession before shooting then you’re going to struggle to win the match.
It was impressive to see how steady Montenegro took the match. They score 4/5 on fast breaks but turned down the opportunity to send the ball quickly down more times than that – preferring to build and then send in a bullet. As well as scoring 6/9 Bojana Popovic always seemed to be on hand to calm things down. The rockets fired in by Katarina Bulatovic, especially from the 7m line, also helped the cause.
Spain on the other hand looked flustered although, as said, their shooting was mostly on the money. They turned over possession too often and could never settle on a pattern to unlock the Montenegrin defence. It was particularly sad at the end to see their goalkeeper Silvia Jimenez unconsolable after such an excellent shot-stopping performance that wasn’t mirrored by the offense.
These are amazing times to be a Montenegrin women’s handball supporter. After Budućnost’s Champions League victory now the national side stand of the brink of an Olympic gold medal. The small matter of Norway stands between them and the title. The Norwegians in the crowd cheered Montenegro, whether out of desire to see the smaller nation win or a feeling that it would be easier for their side I don’t know, but the Beijing winners will have to be on top form to overcome the country that has fought past France and Spain in consecutive rounds.
Amazing achievement by Montenegro, this is a country which has only been independent for six years and whose entire population is equal to the number of people living in Sheffield. Montenegro defended excellently; even when they incurred a spate of two minute suspensions in the second period, Spain could not take advantage of the extra player. I was also surprised that on a number of occasions that the Spanish attacker did not leap into the air to assist their shot, thus making it easier for the goalie to make the save.
Good game and good atmosphere, felt sorry for the people with the Swedish flag who had obviously bought tickets some while back hoping to see their team contest a semi-final. Not to be as they finished bottom of their group, but at least the players got to meet Usain Bolt.
By the way 1- Good site Jon
By the way 2- I post on other sites as flyingking
Thanks for all your comments, Brian. I’ll look out for you on other sites as well.
I am backing Montenegro in the youth tournament at the minute (from a distance). Not going so well there. They need to calm down a bit.